Saying, "I love you," can garner an academy award or seem inconsequential. Adding the word "too" or "more" at the end of the phrase, especially habitually, does not make it any more authentic.
One of the most endearing couples I've ever known uses, "I love you more," habitually, spoken quickly at the end of every phone conversation. I cringe, even though I know they are soulmates. Somehow a phrase loses some authenticity when it becomes a habit.
I think the trend of saying, "I love you," without giving it any original thought is the reason many dismiss its power. I reunited with an old college friend a few years ago and signed off with, "Love," on an email to a man who had been a buddy. He responded that people write "love" too often. I began using, "Hugs," and he responded that "hugs" was just right.
After his observation, I paid more attention to when I sign off "with love" to friends. There is a big difference between loving someone and being in love. That difference needs to be made clear. We can be "in love" once or many times in life. Hopefully, we are not "in love" with a different person every month, unless we are in those torrential teen years, nor "in love" with more than one person at a time.
Eventually, I believe,
when we really feel love
for another, we both feel it.
When the feeling is absent,
no tender phrase can
Telling someone we love them is a gift. Too many people do not express their inner feelings, perhaps due to fear of rejection or having the expression diminished. Now, having given this extensive thought, I am inclined to express love when I feel it, without being intrusive, but not to use it casually. I need to thank my old friend for making me aware that an expression of feeling can be overused.
Eventually, I believe, when we really feel love for another, we both feel it. When the feeling is absent, no tender phrase can convince otherwise.
There are so many ways to show love that we should concentrate on employing them. I've received dozens of roses over the years, always with delight, yet I also hold dear the remembrance of receiving two flowers picked from the garden and presented proudly, with love shining forth. One was from my son when he was four and the other from my husband Terry at 60. Fortunately, in the dead of winter, there are florists to turn to for expressions of love that really never go out of style.
When we go to Hallmark this month, regardless of the warm expressions purchased, it won't hurt to add a personal line. Just saying we felt the card was written just for them can increase the meaning tenfold. Some of my favorite cards have been designed by my grandchildren. Both the cards and the time they took to create them impacted my heart.
As years go by and we lose some of those who are dear to us, who we'd love the chance to express love to one more time, let's seize the opportunity.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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