I LOVE YOU. Three simple words. Easy to say. Not often said.
I’ll never forget when my husband, (then boyfriend at the time), told me he loved me for the very first time. We had been dating about 10 weeks, and I was leaving the next day on an already planned backpacking trip through Europe with a girlfriend. We had just finished a romantic dinner, and he dropped me off at home (yes, I lived at home until the day I got married, don’t make fun)! We were discussing whether or not we would stay together for the summer. After all, it was a very fresh relationship, he was staying home to work, I was leaving the next day, and did it make sense being so young to not “enjoy” Europe? We were parked in front of my house, and came to the agreement that, “Yes, we will keep this relationship going, and remain together throughout the summer.”
He then kissed me, and said “I love you.”
I replied– “Thank you.”
Anyhow, 15 years later, and two beautiful boys, obviously I deeply loved him back, but I remember thinking those words were so strong, that I couldn’t say them if I wasn’t 100% sure.
As you know, I chatted with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on my New York girl’s trip a couple of weeks ago. I have been a reader of his books, and it is known that when he was a young boy, his father rarely said “I love you.” His parents divorced when Shmuley was 12, and only then, did his father begin to say I love you. “Most people think love is an emotion,” Rabbi Shmuley says. “In truth, it is an activity.” Now think about this for a sec. For me, it makes such perfect sense. The Rabbi expresses the deep importance of telling people and showing people you love them, and often.
Now there area few types. I am at one end of the spectrum– I “love everyone!” I do. I am a very affectionate, touchy, feely, loving kinda gal. As you can see, I even sign my name every day with a hug and kiss for all of you, xoxEDxox and I don’t even know you! But the truth is, most people have trouble saying “I love you.” This is due to many reasons—often if someone was raised in a home with parents who were very emotionally detached, this exercise becomes a difficult one for them. Also, studies show that unhappy people are known not to say these words “I love you” very often. Another reason some people have a hard time expressing love, is if they were hurt either by a parent, or in a relationship. Saying “I love you” makes them vulnerable to the other person, and they fear the possible rejection again. The way they attempt to keep themselves strong and protected, is by keeping their distance. It is a self-defense mechanism.
But even still, experts say, it’s important to say these three words, because whomever you’re saying them to, be it your child or spouse, they NEED TO HEAR IT. These three little words, have the power to heal, to uplift, and to comfort. Every child and spouse of yours, needs to be told you love them, and often. We accomplish a lot by telling our loved ones we love them– we make them see how important they are to us, how much we value them, and how special they are to be worthy of our love. As the saying goes, “Love is a gift meant to be shared, and speaking words of love is essential.”
Now for the skeptics who say, actions speak louder than words, you may be right, but it doesn’t exempt you from saying them. Studies show, that the more you actually say these three words, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You actually feel more love, the more often you say them. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem at first, say these words often to your loved ones. The benefits far outweigh the uncomfort.
Today, I will say I love you, a little bit more, especially since I now know how important it is for my kids and husband to hear it (although, I am usually pretty generous in this department). Here is a great quote again from Rabbi Shmuley, “No emotion is real unless it moves you. If it doesn’t find expression in speech or action, it is unimportant, shallow and false. Therefore, don’t just feel love– say it, show it, give it.”
So ladies, shed the hate, the anger, the resentment. Our kids, our parent, our siblings, our spouses will disappoint us. It’s part of life. The power is in our hands to forgive, and utter these three important words. I urge each and every one of you today, to go home, and tell your loved ones, “I love you.”