Let’s Talk About…Love?
Folks, Christopher Graham’s blog this evening had a great post called “‘I Love You’…Why Are We So Afraid to Say it?” by guest author Tina Frisco. Ms. Frisco discusses love, and how important it is, and that we shouldn’t be afraid to use the “three little words” as often as we can in the spirit intended (this spirit, of course, mostly being completely in the spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood rather than sexually based). But perhaps you’d rather hear from Ms. Frisco herself?
Here’s a few words from her guest blog tonight:
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.
I’m not sure why we’re sometimes afraid to speak our hearts to our friends. I do know that I, as a widowed woman, am often afraid to use the “l-word” to any of my male friends, but most particularly to those who are married, engaged, or otherwise attached. I don’t want to be misunderstood; I don’t want to make my friends’ partners angry with me; I don’t want to say something that I know, in American society, is often reserved for either the closest of family relations or our spouses. (Period.)
But I’m not as likely to use the “l-word” with female friends, either. The main reason for that has nothing to do with whether or not someone might think I’ve turned bisexual overnight (I haven’t, though if you think that can happen magically without effort, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn). Instead, it’s because I have a hard time saying something like that, because it’s so naked and so revealing…I may as well strip naked and walk down the street without clothes (a la Kim Kardashian West, without anything close to Mrs. West’s body), because it’s so damned difficult to say.
In fact, the only time I can remember saying to my friends — male and female alike — that I loved them was right after my husband Michael died in 2004. I told them that I loved them all. I figured at that point, they’d best understand my love was more on the agape side, with a bit of philios thrown in; I was in no shape to love anyone erotically except Michael, and he wasn’t there any more. (At least, not physically.)
Ms. Frisco goes on to say:
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 agree with her that life is very short, and I also agree that at least one of the reasons we are here is to learn from others.
Still. It’s really hard to say the three little words to anyone other than your spouse and your nearest and dearest friends, at least in the US of A, for the reasons I gave above. And even there, if your friend is of the opposite sex, you’d best use a ton of qualifiers, or he/she could possibly get the wrong idea…
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to say the words, mind. But I still think it’s far, far more important to let your actions carry weight and meaning.
Maybe it’s because I was divorced before I met Michael, but here’s my take on love: It is a wonderful and even awe-inspiring thing, when someone loves you unconditionally. It feels almost like a sacred trust, except there’s so much love, so much laughter, so much joy in it…you’re still you, with all the flaws endemic in being a human being, and yet you feel understood, and worthwhile, and happy.
But just saying “I love you” is nowhere near enough. You need to back up those actions by listening, by caring, by doing what you can to help your loved one(s), and by making a commitment every single day to be the person who is worthy of such love. Then return those things, every single day, to your loved one(s)…that way, whether you are like me and can only rarely say the “three little words,” your spouses and kids and family members and close friends will know that they are deeply blessed to have you in their lives.
At least, I hope so. Because that is what love is all about, to my mind.
And that is indeed at least one reason why we’re here, too…to love others, as we wish to be loved ourselves. (My husband taught me that, and it’s true.)
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