The words “I love you” are perhaps the most difficult to utter — second only to “I’m sorry.” For many, saying these three words out loud can be a challenge of astronomical proportions, but it’s not because they don’t know how to love. Rather, there are many factors that come into play when the vocal declaration of love is involved.
For instance, people who are shy might not say “I love you” after a long time has passed. Some might not say it at all even though they do feel a deep and profound love for a person. Others tend to fear rejection or become devastated when their love isn’t reciprocated. Thus, their guarded nature causes them to withhold saying those three words until they gain assurance that the other person feels the same. On the other hand, there are those who do say “I love you” regularly without being flippant.
The fact of the matter is, expressions of love tend to come in different forms; some may be more obvious while others — not so much. This doesn’t apply only to those who are engaged in romantic relationships but also to those who feel love for family and friends. That said, here are just some of the many ways to tell someone you love them.
Immortalize Your Feelings Through Writing
Some people simply aren’t confident about speaking at all. Despite “I love you” being a very short, straightforward phrase, they might still get tongue-tied building up to those three monumental words. However, they might be more successful in expressing their feelings through letters or written messages.
Writing a letter can be a cathartic experience because you have a lot of elbow room to think about not just what you want to say, but how to say it. The way in which love is declared can be profoundly important for some people, especially if they feel the need to meticulously articulate their feelings. With letters, you’ll never run out of space, and you’re free to elaborate in a way that allows you to be comfortable.
Letters also give you time — time to process your feelings and time to brace yourself for the other person’s response or lack thereof. If you’re worried that telling someone you love them upfront might put them on the spot, letters are a good way to demonstrate sincerity while also giving the other person time to process their own feelings.
Though some may argue that handwritten letters are too old-fashioned, especially for the younger generation, typing out your letter can be just as sincere. Though digital or computerized messages may appear impersonal, it’s what you say and how you say it that truly matters. In fact, if you feel uncomfortable in being too direct in your letter, you can try expressing your feelings through a poem.
The important thing is to get the message across; whether you write it down or type it out is simply a matter of preference.
Let Music Speak for You
On the other hand, some people might not find the right words with which to proclaim their love for someone. If you belong to this group, you can always say “I love you” through music.
The great thing about music is that there are many pieces that do talk about love and its many degrees and facets. From classical pieces to modern-day songs, you will never run out of options. In fact, expressing your love for someone through music isn’t a new practice at all. Back in the 1980s when cassettes were still all the rage, many people — especially young sweethearts — tended to give or exchange mixtapes as a means to say “I love you.”
Mixtapes are a compilation of different songs from various artists or albums wherein the arrangement of the tracks would spell out a message or tell a story of love. In the 1990s up to the early 2000s, this practice continued through giving or exchanging CDs. Nowadays, you can easily create your own playlist on music streaming sites and share it with the person to whom you want to say “I love you.”
Of course, if you’re musically inclined, you can always compose your own song and play it for the special person in your life.
Express Your Feelings Through Art
Words are, of course, just one way of expressing your feelings for someone. If you’re not too enthusiastic about writing letters or sharing songs, you can always declare your love through other creative means like art.
This isn’t to suggest that you need to be a Picasso or a Rembrandt to create art that can express your profound love. Even a simple card can communicate your feelings in a clear and effective manner. Just think about it: if cards aren’t a great way to tell someone you love them, then Hallmark wouldn’t have had such a successful run with their greeting cards.
The great thing about making art to express your love is that there are different ways you can approach this. There’s drawing, painting, sculpting, video making, and a host of other methods you can employ. Even crafting, upcycling, and planting can be legitimately effective ways to show just how much you love someone.
With art, not only do you get to express your feelings, but you also leave the person a physical representation of that love. It can be something they can keep, bring with them at all times, or even something they can care for.
Show It in All That You Do
“Actions speak louder than words” is an old adage that’s often cited when expressions of love are being discussed — for good reason. For many people, words can seem like empty proclamations that don’t really translate to anything. Though words may hold power, some people may feel as though they’re not enough to truly convey the depth of their emotions. Thus, when they want to manifest their love, they do it through everyday actions.
There are many ways this can be accomplished, though not always necessarily through gift-giving even if that is a viable option. Some of the everyday actions you can do to show your love can include the following:
Mealtimes are a way to strengthen your connection with someone. It’s why meals are a part of most business meetings because it helps establish rapport and set an open, welcoming atmosphere that can bode well for negotiations. Similarly, in many cultures, breaking bread is viewed as a sacred tradition that should only be shared with those who have great meaning in your life, such as your spouse or partner, family, and friends. After all, nobody wants to eat with someone they despise.
In terms of displaying love and affection, sharing a meal with your loved one lets them know that their companionship is valued. Whether you’re in a fancy restaurant or a diner next door, what matters is that you’re together to enjoy the food.
On the other hand, you can also go out of your way to prepare a meal for someone you love. If you’ve watched cooking shows on TV, then you definitely know that food preparation takes a lot of time and skill. If you prepare a meal for the special person in your life, it’s one way of telling them that not only are they worth the trouble of cooking for, but you also care for their well-being and want to nourish them with good food.
People are social animals. While there may be some who prefer the comfort of solitude, there will always be a time when even the most reclusive of people will want to have someone with whom they can share their affections. In this case, a simple hug or a kiss can let your special someone know that you care about them deeply without having to say “I love you.”
Hugs and kisses are actions that universally represent a display of love. When you hug or kiss your loved one, it is often understood that you are revealing what’s inside your heart — that you want to make them feel loved, appreciated, and treasured.
Making promises is almost on the same level as saying “I love you” because what makes a sincere promise precious is that it is only uttered to those who you truly love. A promise that is said without a person intending to keep it is hardly a promise at all — it’s mere lip service.
Thus, when you promise your loved one something, make every effort to keep it as a way of demonstrating your love for them. You don’t need to make earth-shattering promises to do this. Just promising your loved one simple things and keeping your word is as much a declaration of love as any other. For instance, if you promised your partner that you’d take the trash out on the weekend, do it. If you promised your child that you’d attend their school function, be there. If you promised your friend that you’d help them pack for their move, bring the tape, bubble wrap, and storage boxes.
It is often said that love is selfless, but what does this really mean? It means that you put the other person’s happiness and well-being before your own.
Practicing thoughtfulness is what allows you to display selfless love for another. Physical manifestations of thoughtfulness can include taking the initiative to help your loved one before they even ask. For instance, if you know they always forget to eat, remind them or, better yet, cook them a meal and eat with them. If you know they’ve been struggling with childcare, offer to babysit or arrange for a sitter yourself. Even the simple act of making them coffee in the morning can be just as powerful as an “I love you.”
Be by Their Side
Time is something you can never take back. This is what makes it more precious than money, which can always be earned no matter how little. Thus, giving your time and presence wholeheartedly to a loved one is among the many ways to tell them that you love them.
Being there when they need you the most, even if you have nothing else to offer, can radiate love on so many levels. Your attention and willingness to listen can make a world of difference as a person will definitely feel your sincerity through this simple action. Remember, what’s not being said is just as important as what’s being said. Often, the moments of attentive silence you give to that special person in your life may just be what they need to feel loved.
Say It Straight
Of course, the most crystal-clear way that you can let someone know that you love them is by saying it straight. The fact that many people can have difficulty saying “I love you” in such a straightforward manner is a testament to the weight of these three simple words. By saying “I love you,” you make yourself vulnerable and unequivocally commit yourself to that person. Your feelings can be rejected, which can be utterly devastating. At the same time, should that person accept your feelings, you have now committed yourself to renew that love each and every day for as long as it is alive in your heart.
Additionally, directly saying “I love you” leaves little room for miscommunication. The other person doesn’t have to doubt where your feelings stand. Of course, they might not always reciprocate in the way you want to or expect, and that’s okay. Remember that telling someone how you feel is simply put into words the truth about your emotions. More often than not, it’s better to have made yourself clear and be rejected for it, instead of being misinterpreted or agonizing over what could’ve happened.
Love tends to be a big deal for a lot of people, but should you tell someone you love them? Definitely. Even with the risks or challenges that accompany proclamations of love, doing so can lead to your personal growth.
Rejection and acceptance are both parts of life, and telling someone you love them allows you to partake invaluable experiences that can enrich you as an individual.