“I Love You” . . . Why Are We So Afraid to Say It? – Guest Post…


Image is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

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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 . . .


Tina Frisco

Tina Books



45 thoughts on ““I Love You” . . . Why Are We So Afraid to Say It? – Guest Post…

  1. Tina, I love your post, your openness, and I believe, like you, that too many close the door. Have you ever met someone for the first time, and immediately thought, “I love this person”? I have. Have you met people in the blogosphere and made a deep connection to them without having met them face to face? I have. Sending you love and hugs, and I truly mean it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Michelle. Yes, I’ve had many of those experiences, and they always amaze me. Makes you realize that we’re all connected, all one. We simply forgot for a while. Returning your love and hugs threefold ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post, Tina. I think the main reason I am (or was) afraid to say the words “I love you” is because many go straight to the erotic possibilities of that, rather than thinking about the two other good possibilities the Greeks called agape and philos (also written as philios in English; I think it doesn’t transliterate well). Agape is sometimes known as “the highest form of love,” or charity done for its own sake; I see it as genuine caring, independent of any reward. Philos/philios is friendship, pure and simple…sometimes viewed as brotherly love, though I would assume sisterly love also applies. 😉

    Those two forms of love are what I meant not long after my husband died, years ago; I said to my friends, “I love you all.” And I hoped they understood that…but it took something as drastic as that for me to be able to say those words to anyone except my late husband and a few of my closer family members, because I was afraid I would be misunderstood. (And sometimes, I still am.)

    Anyway, I am going to link to your post and write some reflections on love myself, in the not-too-distant future…and I will give credit where credit is due. (Of course!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Barb, I think that’s why so many are afraid to put the “I” in I Love You. Fear stops us from engaging on so many levels, most of which would open our hearts and our world to new and wonderful possibilities. When I worked with Amnesty International in the early 1970s, we had a close alliance with Agape Foundation Fund for Nonviolent Social Change, an organization committed to peace and justice. That’s when I learned the definition of agape, a word I enjoy saying, a word that feels like what it means when being spoken. Brave of you to finally speak your heart to your friends, despite risking possible rejection. I’m sure you’ve gained a lot from doing so. Thank you for your lovely comment and for sharing. I will hop over to your blog shortly. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Namaste Tina. i think sometimes there’s a fear of saying I love you in case it isn’t said in return. Many people count not hearing those words as a rejection.
    I always thought that my actions showed how much I cared instead of using the words. I loved my wife dearly but had a problem saying so for a long time. Surprise gifts or flowers I thought would do the job for me. When she became ill all that changed. I didn’t fear rejection and could happily use the words I Love You to which she replied, “I know”.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • It must have felt so good to finally speak your heart, David. I can think of nothing more gratifying. Your wife knew how you felt, as she probably knew all else about you that remained unexpressed, and she loved the whole package known as David Prosser. How wonderful is that… Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself, and mega hugs reciprocated ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people


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