couple sitting on the field facing the city

For some of us, there is no phrase that causes more discomfort than, “I love you.” It comes loaded with so much weight, when really, it lifts up and makes us lighter. With the holiday dedicated to love coming up, this would be a good time to address the subject of “love.” Love in all its many forms really does make the world go ‘round.

How do you say, “I love you” to someone you care about? How do you express your feelings of love and affection to your spouse and other family members? Florists would like us to believe that we should “say it with flowers.” With all due respect to florists, there are other ways.

For instance: If you love someone, compliment them often for jobs well done and refrain from downgrading them. Rather, reassure that person when they don’t go right. Most of us could use a little support now and then. We are made of flesh and bone, after all, and not stone.

If you love someone, listen to what they have to say without judgment or feeling like you have to solve all of their problems. Active listening builds the self-esteem of the talker, while it builds the quality of empathy in the listener.

If you love someone, let them know when you feel low or lonely or misunderstood. It will make them stronger to know they have the power to comfort you.

If you love someone, respect their silences. As alternatives for problems or challenges, creativity and spirituality often come in times of quiet.

And, finally, if you love someone, tell them often, through your talk, your actions and your gestures. It is a mistake to assume that others know how we feel. Even if they act embarrassed or deny that they need it, don’t believe them. Do it anyway. And they can promise to do the same for you.

It is these things done consistently and consciously over the years that help build a loving relationship and keep it growing and flourishing. And, it is the absence of these things that rob life of its joy. LTS. Life’s too short – love deeply, daily, for as long as you have.