Words and stories help us express the love we feel for each other. Even when it doesn’t come out perfectly, the uncomfortable attempt to express how we feel will be appreciated.
How often have I missed this opportunity? Because I was afraid of how they would react, because I couldn’t find the perfect words, because I was being selfish and wanted them to say it first, because I thought I would have more time and would tell them later?
A willingness to say the words shows meaning, helps others, gives light, creates connection, and helps us experience meaning and love in ways we can’t imagine.
Someone recently sent me a note to tell me about a big life change they were going through. They wanted me to know about it because I meant something to them. I hadn’t realized that I did, but their sweet words were a reminder about the impact we can have in even the smallest ways every single day when we interact with others. Letting others know we appreciate the role they play in our life, even if it’s just for the smile they flash us passing on the street.
When my husband and I first started dating, we took words for granted. After reading the book The Five Love Languages, we realized the power of the love language Words of Affirmation in our relationship. We couldn’t assume that we loved each other, we had to be sure the other knew by saying it. We underestimated the power of words.
Not anymore. We say it, even when it’s uncomfortable…the good, the bad, the ugly. We write notes. We give specific reasons for why we love each other. We talk specifically about what we need from each other, and what we could do better for each other.
I experienced the power of words recently with my mom. We had a great conversation about what we needed from each other in our mother-daughter relationship now that we are both adults. It has had such a positive impact: less conflict, deeper conversations, more love. No assumptions, and taking nothing for granted.
I recently read this from Jordan Peterson: “There is little in a relationship that is so little it’s not worth discussing. Every unprocessed or uncomprehended and ignored reason will compound and conspire and plague you.”
And another excerpt: “Say what you mean so you can find out what you mean. Act out what you say so you can find out what happens. Then pay attention. Note your errors. Articulate them. Strive to correct them. That is how you discover meaning in your life.”
Words mean a lot. If you aren’t ready to talk, say it in a note. Just say it already.