I was on the phone with a client the other day, and as I was ending what was quite an intense and serious conversation, I said “OK, love you, bye!” It was so embarrassing. It’s not the first time I’ve done it either, and every time those words slip out of my mouth unintentionally, I cringe at myself and then usually send some awkward text that says “sorry, didn’t mean to say I loved you just then.” But this time it really got me thinking: have those words become so overused now that we simply say them unconsciously and meaninglessly?
“I love you” used to be three sacred words that we would save just for those people closest to us, the people who we really do love deeply and unconditionally. But now, for most of us, a casual “love you” is handed out to everyone in our life that is more than an acquaintance (unless, of course, we work with them). Millennials have even abbreviated those three precious words into “ily,” which is casually dropped at the end of any text or DM.
We live in a world where we can constantly upgrade, change, and replace so many things in our life, so it is even more important that we really honor the parts that feel sacred, safe, and long-lasting. For most of us, the parts of our life that feel like this are the relationships we have with our partners, children, family, and closest friends. So for these people who make us feel safe, secure, nurtured, and cared for, don’t they deserve something that feels more meaningful, saved just for a few? Don’t they deserve an “I love you” or a “love you, bye” that feels intentional and meaningful rather than casual and insignificant?
Start to pay attention to when you use the words “I love you.” Then become aware of why you’re saying it: is it out of habit, or is it from your heart? We all know that feeling when you say it from the heart, or when you hear someone say it to you from their heart. It makes you feel all warm inside, and when said for the first time by a certain someone, it can literally feel like an explosion of excitement, butterflies, and joy all in one.
So, the next time you go to say it out of habit, maybe hold back and save it for when you really mean it. Let’s put the spark back into those three magical words.
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