Those 3 Little Words, So Hard For Some to Say: I Love You

2.12.15 ILYAs we near that date on the calendar that women anticipate (or abhor, if single) and that equally affects men but with a different range of emotions, from fear (of commitment) to remorse (for negligence) – Feb 14th – it seems perfect timing for a post on the pinnacle of communication: love <3

Love can be communicated in many ways.  Through thoughtfulness, through a look, through an embrace, but final confirmation of genuine love requires the actual words.  Verbally expressing their love can be harder for men because ‘real men’ don’t cry, don’t get emotional, don’t get caught up in all the romantic trappings of females.  The soft side of romance isn’t perceived as being macho.  Love equates to commitment, which definitely limits wandering options.  Culturally we don’t allow any one person to truly have committed love to several partners at the same time.  Ah, man!, it’s tough to live a society that outlaws polygamy.

Do the written words count, or must the profession of love be spoken to be real?  The problem with both forms of communication, when it comes to love, is today’s overuse of the concept, which waters down the meaning.  “Love you!” is gaily tossed around like a meaningless, “Later!” among teens and millennials.  When my daughter was a teenager and I heard her signing off phone calls to a early stage boyfriend with “love you” I knew then that the L word, that used to be gold, had lost much of its shine.  Oh, what a shame!

As a written close to friendly correspondence, “Love, (name)” is right up there with “Hi, (name)” It has become so commonly used that the special glow of the single written word is also gone, but thankfully the 3 word combination is still meaningful.  Adding the “I” in front of “Love” + “you” or “I” in front of “Love you” gives the phrase the personalization needed to imbue it with full meaning.

Much of our feelings on love comes from the way we were raised, in an affectionate home or a more distant environment.  When it was a warm upbringing, it’s easier to receive and deliver affection as an adult.  But when in the young years there was sparse affection, it’s hard to become what we haven’t experienced.  Much though we may wish that things were different.

Yet to many, love is still a heavy word and carries some weight.  Love is steady and constant; it is not fleeting and given lightly.  Love is commitment to caring; it is not frivolously given or withdrawn.  Love is intentional and enduring – whew!  What a lot of responsibility tied up in one concept.

Love has many forms, depending on the relationship.  The love between family members is relative to the person, as is love of friends, and love of pets.  Love is required for healthy living.  Without love, we cannot thrive.  What about hermits and eccentric loners you wonder?  They are the exception to the rule and have so much self-love that they cannot extend their affection to others.  But most people need love in their lives to give their lives meaning.

Oh, there is work certainly, sometimes very important work, with some as so work-driven to love only their work over people.  But at the end, work doesn’t take care of you in old age.  Love is needed, even if ends up being the love of caring strangers.  Love is the affirmation of a life worth living.  We were born, we lived, someone loved us and will remember us when we die.  Without love our existence is dismissible.

So how do we express love on Feb 14th, as well as on other calendar dates?  One way is to notice what the person you need to tell your true affection for appreciates.  (And I’m staying with the female gender here, because Valentine’s Day is a female holiday in my book, but flip the genders freely as desired.) Is she the visual type –evidenced by being a natty dresser, well put together, good eye for color, accessorized, not a hair out of place?  If so, she will appreciate Valentine gifts, a well chosen card, flowers – a visual demonstration of love.

Is she the auditory type – does she enjoy a good joke, a smart turn of a phrase, in to music?  Then by all means tell her you love her; the words mean everything to an auditory.  Words make it real. And concert or comedy show tickets for a gift wouldn’t hurt either.

Maybe she’s the kinesthetic type – into comfort with clothes and home, is fairly emotional, cries at movies, shows compassionate feelings.  This woman needs a hug – physically demonstrate your love with touch and warm embrace is important.  Also a gift out to dinner or a spa treatment gift certificate would be appreciated over a jewelry or trinket gift.

Too often we think of what WE would like, and just assume that because we would like it, the other person wants the same.  If I want an expensive gift, why wouldn’t the other person also want that?  If a hug is good enough for me, why isn’t it good enough for her?  Why does she NEED me to say “I love you” when she knows how much I care, as demonstrated by my actions?  Because she does, especially if she’s an auditory type.

The word “Love” is still an important part of our lexicon and will never leave our vocabulary.  There is no replacement for the concept of love and all that it embodies.  And the full phrase “I love you” will always be the pinnacle of communication.  Sometimes hard to say, but always worth expressing.

Next time the topic is: Beware the Online Review –the immediacy of communicating online can be perilous, especially to businesses that offend customers.

What’s your love story?

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