It's the holiday season and let's face it, most of us feel festive, positive and most certainly generous even with our words and feelings. Amidst all this joyfulness is the overflowing feeling of love (hopefully!) and sometimes you just have to say it, don't you? Sadly, I don't think a lot of us are saying it right and we don't even know it. By the time we realize it, it's already too late and damage has been done, either to the recipient of those three precious words or most often, to us, the giver.
So today I will share with you what I've learned, painfully at times, about saying 'I love you'. Here's how you do it right...
1. Choose wisely when deciding who to say these words to.
Love is precious and powerful. Never doubt that. And so you must choose wisely who you give it to. Make sure you mean it. Make sure that when it comes to that person, you can truly be patient, kind, trusting, humble and steady. You must know what real love means before you can offer it sincerely to someone else. Love changes the source, as well as the recipient and once given, you can't really take it back. It sets in motion changes within you that you cannot undo, inasmuch as it transforms those who openly receive it. Choose wisely who you want to experience this powerful change with.
2. Say it without any expectation. Don't say it expecting it will be said back. There's no rule saying that reciprocity is a prerequisite to offering love. Think of it as a gift. When you give a gift to someone, there is no expectation that you will receive anything back. You can't even impose that the person send you a 'thank you' card and give you praises. And if silence is all you get, you should not throw a tantrum and blame the other person for not behaving the way you want them to. Remember that love and freedom go hand in hand. You give it freely and the other person has the freedom as well to receive it in the manner they want to. If you find yourself always expecting a response, then that just means you are doing it for yourself and not for the other person and therefore you need to re-evaluate your idea of Love. Perhaps You and Love need to be further re-acquainted.
3. Since it is a gift, you cannot dictate how it should be used or received. I don't believe you can say 'I love you' and then impose rules as to what the other person should do with it. 'Tell everyone'. 'Don't tell anyone'. 'Be happy'. 'Don't be flattered'. You simply can't be a control freak like this. If you and the other person truly know each other and share a mutuality in your relationship, then such things become unnecessary. Elaborate explanations or clarifications won't be necessary. If you are still in the mindset of controlling how your 'I love you' should be received, then you need some growing up to do and again, some re-evaluation of what Love is really about.
4. Say it with a breath of gratitude. Don't cloud it with a sense of need or fear, embarrassment or a sense of lack. Let it go, let it wash over you and be happy that you have it to give. No matter what happens, how it's received, just be truly grateful that you know Love and have been touched by it. Not everyone is as blessed.
Before I end, I want to share with you three of my favorite love quotes:
"All love eventually becomes help" ---- Paul Tillich
"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own". --- Robert A. Heinlein
"For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." --- Rainer Maria Rilke
Enjoy this love-filled season!