There are all kinds of "love". We use the word all the time. "I just love that dress!" "Wouldn't you love to have that car?" There's puppy love, first loves, our "only love", the love of my life......you get the picture. When you're in a relationship for the first time, it's always tense until one person finally utters those three little words. In my family growing up, we didn't say "I love you" very often. I guess it was a given. I never really gave it much thought. We were a loving family, but those words just didn't tumble out of our mouths. And, most of the people I knew didn't say it that often to others in their family. Maybe because I grew up in the Midwest -- I'm not trying to stereotype here.....however, when I moved to the south over 30 years ago that is one of the things I noticed first.......how many times people said "I love you". Because I heard it so much it didn't really seem genuine to me. It's kind of like hearing people at the bank or the grocery saying "have a nice day", instead of just saying thank you. You don't really hear it the same.
After moving to the South I started to give it some more thought. My first thought was, do people really think I don't love them because I don't say it very often? Will they really hear what I am saying when I say it?
My husband is very quiet and reserved and for him to say those three little words is something short of a miracle, so I don't push it. But when I had my son I couldn't say it enough -- and I was certain that was something I wanted him to say frequently. I think I got him to say that more than "Yes ma'am and No Ma'am" which is sacred in the south as well. But at least I love you worked on him even if I couldn't make the Yes ma'am No ma'am thing stick. (As you can see I'm shooting 50% here with husband and son)
I've become more comfortable with telling people I know how important they are to me and yes, that I even love them. I used to think that that was just for those in our immediate family who we were almost bonded to love because they were a part of us. It took me a long time to realize that my friends that are important to me are worthy of the "I love you" phrase and it should be said more often.
Over the holidays a very long time friend (who also happens to be a native northerner) said "I Love You" to me and I was so taken by it I didn't know how to respond. Isn't that an interesting response after thinking I had actually broken that barrier. I was proud of myself for also saying those three little words before we parted. It made me feel good. And, this week, I received a very touching email from a friend and she signed it "I love you". And, even though we have exchanged those words to each other frequently it still moved me.
Don't wait....tell someone you love them.....you'll never know how that will lift someone's mood.