I love you.
Three words, three syllables. Only eight letters long. A statement that can be uttered in half a second. A phrase that can be said with true tenderness, or simply something that can tumble out from between someone’s teeth.
They’re words we’ve somehow come to live by. Words we want so badly to hear directed toward ourselves. Because we’ve been taught that love equals want in this world, that someone else loving us makes us worthy as human beings. But really, there are a million different types of love. Really, we don’t need those words in order to size up our own worth.
The truth is, the love we have for ourselves is enough, is all we’ve ever really needed.
But the trouble is we only think of love as counting when it’s directed at us, by other people. That loving ourselves isn’t worth it if we don’t get told the words we want to hear from those around us. We want to feel reassured, to be given the permission to love ourselves through seeing someone else love us. We think that if someone says I love you, only then can we be truly lovable. Only then can we allow ourselves to see true validity somewhere within us.
But you don’t need those words.
Because when you think about it, they’re really just that; three words, three syllables, eight letters. And as much as we’d like to believe that words are always enough, that they always mean something, that isn’t the case. We know it deep down. That words lie, that people can manipulate or get caught up in the happier moments that seem like they’ll never end.
We don’t remind ourselves enough that love cannot be measured in words alone. That actions are louder than any utterance. That really, love is all around us, even when we don’t care to notice it’s presence. Because sometimes, when we’re focusing so much on the words, on the mechanics of love, we lose sight of the smaller things. Of the things that are real. The things that add up to so much more than those three little words ever could.
We need to open our eyes. To notice that other hand brushing again our own. Two bodies pressed against each other. Notes written and sweaty palms. That most-hated chore that gets done by another before you ever have the chance to rise out of bed in the morning. A smile in our direction, eyes locked and focused.
Love is communicated in so many ways. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t waste your time pining for those words with no action behind them.
Don’t fall into a trap because of a phrase any ordinary person can say whenever they damn well please, despite their true intentions.
Maybe no one has told you they love you recently. But maybe someone has told you without words. And maybe you just weren’t listening. And just maybe the person you really need to hear those words from is yourself.
Maybe you need to let those words go and realize they’re only words in the end.