Image is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova
My sisters and most of my friends and I regularly tell each other “I love you.” I usually speak the phrase freely and easily but have noticed over my life that many have difficulty receiving as well as speaking the sentiment. I wonder why that is . . .
I think many of us are afraid of what “I Love You” might imply. Certainly it depends on who is saying it and in what context. A lot of us have received salacious messages from people we’ve friended on social networks, and that is never comfortable — nor is it appropriate. And it most definitely isn’t love. But lust is an entirely different subject and not fodder for this post.
Among true friends, why are we so afraid to speak our hearts? Do we think the sentiment might be misconstrued? Instead of “I love you” we say “much love,” “love you,” “love and hugs,” “sending love,” etc. We omit the “I” because it’s uncomfortable to speak and just as uncomfortable to watch the receiver’s reaction if our intentions are misinterpreted. In saying “I” we make a commitment; we own what we say. That little one-letter word carries huge implications. It can cause us to hesitate to reach into the depths of our hearts, extract a kernel of authenticity, and share it with another. It can also cause the door to many receiving hearts to shut.
It’s true that to everything there is a season, and maybe we’ve been hurt so many times that we’re afraid to keep our hearts open. But if we close our hearts to one, we close them to all. Open is open and closed is closed.
I hope that if we’re afraid of love, we’ll learn to keep the door to our hearts ajar, willing to at least peek at our fear. Because maybe the next time, we won’t be so afraid. Maybe the next time, the door won’t close. Maybe — just maybe — we’ll be willing to let something real and new and precious enter.
When we hold in our hearts a profound love for all beings, it hurts not to speak it. The pain of withholding is not only an emotional pain, but also a physical one. When I feel love for another but sense that they’re afraid to hear me say it, I often hold back. Then my solar plexus constricts and the pain feels like an uppercut to my stomach. I just want to say “I love you” and have it be received in the purest sense.
A spiritual teacher once told me that I’m an empath. She said, “The fire in you burns brighter than in anyone I’ve met; that’s how much you love.” I know I’m not alone in this. I know that many of us harbor the bright fire of love within our hearts. I think what my teacher saw was not so much the amplitude of my fire but rather my willingness to give it a voice.
Our time on this earth is short. Our reason for being here is to learn. And there is nothing more gratifying than telling someone you love them and having them receive it with delight and reciprocation. Saying “I love you” shouldn’t be a fearful thing. It should be a joyous union of two souls helping each other grow.
I want my heart to feel free. I want my spirit to soar. And so, my dear friends, I say to you now that I love you. And I hope you will receive the sentiment in the spirit in which it is given . . .