“I Love You” – Three Simple Words, But, Oh, So Complicated

Published June 24, 2010 by Patty Brisben

I was at a corporate event recently when one of my top Consultants, Leslie Zay, touched on an interesting topic. Let me start by saying that Leslie never has any problem captivating an audience and that day proved to be no different! She went on to tell us about a world-renowned Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who made a life transforming discovery. He found that phrases containing “Love,” spoken with sweet intention (in any language) directly to water before it was frozen, dramatically affected its crystallized state. The affected water, at a specific temperature and under precise laboratory conditions, formed beautiful, hexagonal crystals fully documented by remarkable photographs. In contrast, the same water clustered into ugly, deformed, broken, distorted images when hateful words, sounds, even torturous pictures were exposed to it.

We found this fascinating given that the human body can be anywhere from 60% to 78% water depending on the body size. This made even further sense considering the love we naturally heap on newborn children whose little bodies are comprised of almost all water.

It wasn’t long before the entire group was putting in their own two cents on what saying “I love you” meant to them and sharing other insights on how these three simple words are tied to such a powerful emotion as love. One of my favorite comments was from a colleague, David, who said, “love is tolerance and understanding” and after 39 years of marriage, these are true words of wisdom he is qualified to impart.

Besides David and Leslie, there were a few other good friends of mine whose perspectives I wanted to include here.

Gina: I love you means a lot of things. It means I care so deeply about you that I would do anything for you. It’s that magical feeling that fills you up from your toes to your eyeballs. I think the right time to say it is when your gut tells you; when you feel like the words are going to fall right out of your mouth. I don’t think you can put a time frame on it. I think people say I love you for a million reasons – to get what they want, to show how they feel, to make other people feel better, etc. When it comes to relationships it is a milestone and saying it definitely takes it to another level.

Lauren: I don’t think you can put a time frame on love. It is a strong feeling you know when you feel it, and if you feel comfortable expressing it then you should. I usually measure it by saying, “Do I feel strongly enough about this person that even the hottest most charming and successful guy wouldn’t sway my attention or entice me to cheat?” If the answer is yes, then I know I’ve got a Keeper.

Love grows deeper over time. After the intoxication from the ‘chemical explosion’ levels out, you will enter a phase of deeper love. A lot of people think this means love is gone, but it isn’t. This is usually when people think they should get out of a relationship, but they don’t realize that this is a normal evolution.

Johnny: My good friend, Doug, was laid out in his hospital bed, swollen and bandaged from surgery following a brain aneurism.

“Johnny’s here,” his wife said, announcing my arrival.

Doug looked at me quizzically. He trembled with emotion.

“I love you,” he said slowly, “but…I’m not in love with you.” Doug was struggling to reconnect the old pathways of his thoughts. He was seeking to differentiate his strong affection involving two types of love. There are many, many types of love, for example, a Mother’s love, love for your dog, and love for pumpkin pie.

Tamie: The three words “I love you” are about the strongest three words you can say. When said from a distance, they leave one feeling as if they have someone’s arms wrapped around them. When hearing them in someone’s arms, you feel like it’s coming straight out of their heart. When feeling sorrow, those words, make everything feel so safe and warm. These words are meant as a very deep form of affection. It’s amazing what three words put together can do!

Brian: “I love you” is often an overused phrase unfortunately often said with little meaning behind it – it’s easier to say but for many more difficult to show. Love means something different to everyone depending on their concept of love. This concept is usually carried over from what they learned growing up or from their current personal relationships.

Many are afraid to say it because they fear they won’t hear it back. But I love you shouldn’t be an I.O.U. Instead love should be a gift you share with nothing expected in return. It should be more than what you say. Ask the person what makes them feel loved; for some it may be just hearing the words, for others they may need to be shown.

Marcey: At the wedding of two of my friends the minister said that every couple should say “I love you” to each other at least once a day. If one of them was not sure they had said it one day, say it again just to be sure. The most important thing we can do for those we love is to tell them, in words, that we love them.

From the time my son was born, every night when I put him to bed (and later when he went to bed on his own) the last thing I said to him was “Good night. I love you.” He is now doing the same with his children. And the love continues.

Each person’s point of view touches on a different aspect of love. Yet, from a 30,000 foot view, the message is all the same. Everyone needs and is transformed by love. For me, I agree that love is an important word and should be treated with care. There are so many people who misuse the words “I love you”, whether as a tool to get what they want or as an empty phrase devoid of any real emotion.

You should tell those you love –every day– how much you love them; in fact, hearing Marcey’s point makes me even more determined to let the people I love know how I feel, all the time. Everyone needs to hear it and not just hear it, but feel the meaning behind it.

As Leslie, pointed out through her unique tidbit regarding Dr. Emoto, it absolutely matters how we speak to one another and we all agree with her that the phrase, “I love you,” should be spoken sincerely, fervently, fearlessly, and tremendously often.

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