“Once you have learned to love, you will have learned to live.” -Unknown
My high school vocal teacher said that “love” is the most beautiful word in the English language, so I should let it roll off my tongue like honey to make it thick, sweet and poignant.
So I did. I sang it deeply, slowly, and soulfully, though I never spoke the word. I came from a family that didn’t really express emotion, so I filed it away with all the things I wanted to say but didn’t.
When I started dating, I couldn’t wait to profess my love, long before I actually felt it. I said it at every chance I could get because that’s how often I wanted to hear it.
I wanted it to constantly roll like honey toward me, so I could feel warm, safe, and unconditionally accepted. I whispered it, mumbled it, yelled it, and even cried it, all while having no idea what it really felt like. It was my gift and my curse, wrapped in fear, insecurity, and need.
Over the years, I’ve put a lot of effort into learning to love myself and others; and in the process, I realized I wanted to say “I love you” a lot less and a lot more often. I wanted to say it less when I didn’t really mean it and more when I actually did.
I wanted to stop reciting it like a parrot to men who weren’t good for me, and start expressing it deeply, slowly, and soulfully to the people I really cared about.
So often in life, we avoid expressing our feelings in fear that it will be awkward. The first time I said I love you to my eight-years-younger brother, the word felt almost foreign. I felt uncomfortable mostly because I was afraid I’d make him feel that way.
Now I tell him every time we speak. I do the same with every other family member. And many of my friends. And even many of the people I engage with through this site. Why? Because life is too short to feel love and not express it.
Love is the most beautiful word in the English language—when it comes from a place of genuine care, affection, and appreciation.
Who do you love in your life, and when is the last time you told them?
Photo by Saucy Salad