What Does “I Love You” Mean To You?

An “I love you” hug!

What does “I love you” mean to you? I can imagine that you might respond with something like, “It means I love you!” In other words, the question is simple and can’t be elaborated on for any deeper meaning. Well, let’s see if we can find deeper and different meanings in those three simple words.

I love you roses :-)

Does I love you mean you love me like my father loved my mother before he died? Does I love you mean you love me like Jennifer Aniston loved Brad Pitt before they divorced? Does I love you mean you love me like two trusted friends love each other? I think the words, I love you, are more emotionally charged than most other phrases in the English language. I also thing that I love you doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to the receiver and the giver.

When you say I love you, it can be an opportunity to learn about yourself. Those words have so much meaning because they contain you. You have a meaning for I love you that is tied to meanings derived from childhood, past family and non-family relations, including numerous meanings that we get from various other sources.

I love you is one of the strongest emotionally charged statements that we can make. Think about saying I love you to individuals in a diverse group. For example, think about how emotionally charged and different the statement can be when you say it to your mother, your brother, your friend, your roommate, your grandparent, your coach, your lover, your teacher, your preacher, your leader … Now consider another less emotionally charged phrase like, I admire you. To say, I love you, to your mother, your brother, etc… has more emotion in it when compared with, I admire you. Again, the point is that the statement, I love you, is very strong and emotionally charged.

Because of its strong and emotionally charged nature, I love you includes many feelings that might be painful and hardly ever referred to. If, for example, you had been hurt badly in the past when someone said to you, I love you, then you might associate the phrase with emotional pain. Now, suppose someone in the present says, I love you and really means it. But, you, having associated it with emotional pain, consider it to be false love. You have incorrectly projected a false love feeling on true love. Your mind has associated a negative feeling from the past to a present feeling that should have been positive, but is perceived negative by you. Ouch!

Perhaps, instead of allowing our minds to associate the phrase, I love you with negative feelings from the past, we should “train” our minds to associate the phrase with our present feelings about ourselves. You see, it’s important for all of us to have a caring relationship with ourselves. Consider this question, “If you were living with you, would you want to stay with you?” If the answer is not yes, then change what needs to be changed in order to love yourself. The first person you must have a love affair with is you! Only when you love yourself, will you be able to have successful loving relationships with others.

Try this. Go into a private place by yourself and say, “I Love You!” to yourself. After you do, then think how you felt about saying it. Did you feel any negative feelings? If so, why? Are you associating negative feelings from the past to your present statement about loving yourself? When you say, I love you, to yourself are you reflecting on a time when you didn’t love yourself? Shouldn’t you love yourself now? Perhaps, if you don’t think saying I love you to yourself is appropriate, then try replacing the word love with hate, like, dislike, admire, etc… Does any other word sound better than love? Personally, I think the only word that is appropriate is love!

Ok, so really, what does I love you mean? Getting rid of all past negative associations, it means: I LOVE YOU!

I would LOVE a comment. :-)

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2 Responses to What Does “I Love You” Mean To You?

  1. Don says:

    Thank you so very much for you are so very correct! You have provided me with the words that I already had but were not organized…not just the words but the complete emotional process.

    Like

  2. […] This isn’t even the first time that I have tried to discuss self-love. In a post entitled, What Does “I Love You” Mean To You?, published in March of 2010, I invited the reader to go to a private place and say over and over […]

    Like

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