February 15, 2024

The Power of “I” in I Love You.

A friend of mine and I were texting the other day and one of her messages stopped me in my tracks, in a beautiful kind of way: “I Love You, Jill.”

I felt those words and the love behind them.

We have been friends for nearly two decades. We have been through major life milestones together—having children, getting married, and in my case, getting divorced and remarried.

Our work paths have crossed countless times, and she is my adventure friend—hiking, full moon yoga paddle boarding, early morning summertime walks. You name it, she’s always in and usually the person suggesting the next adventure. She keeps my mind open and my body moving in new and wonderful ways.

Reading her message made me teary-eyed. I could feel the love she was sending me in my heart. I could feel it dance inside my chest; my heart chakra was open and I paused. I consciously said “yes” to receiving this love. I received it with gratitude. I received it with joy because it was given that way. I felt her love in the cells of my being.

I also gave myself the gift of really receiving her message and her energy. I didn’t bounce over it. I paused. Something about her message beckoned me to sit with it, to feel it. I allowed that which she was giving to fully flow into my being. I allowed. I received. I was and continue to be grateful for our friendship, her love, and our connection.

Love travels, energy travels. Her message, the energy behind it, and her love flowed to me as if she were standing in front of me. One part of her message caught my attention. It was the “I” in her “I love you.”

Language is changing. I’ve noticed a shift in my teenagers. “No, thank you” has become “I’m good or I’m fine.” The word “I” has often dropped out of “I love you.” I’ve noticed for years that even with my closest friends, many of whom I’ve known for decades, texts are often “Love you” texts. They can be 10 years older or younger than me and the shift in language remains. “Love you” is what my son says every day when he gets out of the car as I’m dropping him off at school.

When was the last time you looked someone you love in the eye and said “I love you” with their name? Not a passing “Love you” and “Love you, too” text or verbal exchange, but rather a deeply meaningful “I love you” with the person’s name?

We are so often closed off in our culture. I believe this is a major contributing factor to the social isolation and loneliness issues that have infiltrated our world, made more pronounced by the pandemic.

Removing “I” from “I love you” allows the ownership of feelings to fall through the cracks. It becomes a rote response, just like an automatic reply to “How are you?” is “Good, how are you?”

The authenticity is lacking in these responses. When we rely on rote responses, we miss the opportunity to connect with and send and receive love, happiness, and energy from the person with whom we’re talking.

There’s a belief that it’s better to give than to receive, but I wholeheartedly disagree. It is wonderful to give and receive. If we create a world where everyone is giving but no one feels good receiving, we create a world where things are off balance. It must be both. We can have seasons where we are the givers, but there is a deliciousness that comes when we allow ourselves to genuinely receive. When we fill our cups, then we are better able to give. Our words create opportunities to give and receive.

When was the last time you said yes to receiving the love that is flowing to you? When was the last time you paused, truly felt the love being offered to you by someone who cares for you, and opened your heart to it? When you were told “Love you” and you replied, did you reply “Love you too” or did you pause, send endless love back to this person whom you love, and say the words “I Love You” with conviction?

What does it feel like to say “I Love You” and mean it, really feel it? Where can you add more authenticity to your words, your interactions, your heart, and your connections?

The next time someone says “Love you” or “How are you?” how will you respond? Will you lower the protective curtain? Will you say I love you and mean it? Will you fill someone’s cup with your love and authenticity?


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