Love: It consumes our music, movies, literature, bodies, minds and hearts. Some might even say love makes the world go round. As the generation Y, we’re consumed by a world surrounded by this impossible to define phenomenon. We are conditioned our whole lives to audibly say 3 short words cautiously, yet often. We love our family, our friends, and our significant others, but why is it that ‘I love you’ is the most sought after phrase in the English language? And why might we feel anxious or worried when we don’t hear it? Maybe it’s the comforting familiarity hearing it spoken from loved ones in times of hardship, or that we long for the giddy butterflies we get as we tell someone for the first time. Or maybe the truth of it is, we just love to be loved.
Although it’s believed to be the most essential aspect of a healthy relationship, there are many overlooked expressions much more important. Here’s a look at 7 more important phrases than “I love you.”
- Text me when you get home. When you and your friends slide this into a farewell as you part ways at the end of the night, it’s really saying much more than face value. You’re showing a deep level of protection, and care for the well-being of each other. We have each other’s backs; so let me know when you’re home safe, okay?
- We can wait. Especially with sex-culture on the rise, we are often pressured into doing things that we may not be ready for. If someone tells you that it’s okay to wait, you know they truly do care about you. This is so important in relationships and builds healthy dynamics, open communication, and trust. There’s no rush to experience life all at once. If he’s willing to wait, it means he’s willing to draw out his time with you, and enjoy the gradual progression of your relationship.
- I trust you. By vocally reassuring someone that you trust him or her, you’re reminding them that there’s no reason to feel ashamed or worried about judgment. We’re obsessed with knowing, and being involved but it shouldn’t be necessary to know the password to his phone or where he is at every living moment. Trust in many ways, is the foundation for love.
- I believe in you. We’ve all had those deep 4am life chats where we open up about our hopes and dreams. Today, I’d love to be a weather girl or maybe a Public Relations agent, and 3 years ago, I thought I was on my way to be the next American Idol superstar. We all dream big, but nothing means more than having someone believe in the things you do without ridicule. Telling someone you believe in them can be the support they needed to pass their physics final, face their fears or chase after that dream job that feels out of reach. Be their biggest fan, because your heart’s already rooting for them to succeed.
- I forgive you. In life, we all make mistakes. Some are easier to forgive than others, but it’s important to learn to forgive. Life is far too short to live with negative energy from the past, and the only way we can move forward is to untangle the conflicts in our lives. Forgiving the past and taking the future on with an open mind can build the strong and lasting relationships that you’ve been looking for.
- Stay safe. You’ve likely heard your mom or dad scream this one out of that old mini van when they drove off from your dorm in your first year of college. By saying stay safe, they are really telling you to be cautious, strong, protect your heart, and live loudly. They know the trouble you’re about to get into, and they’ve done all the crazy things that are on your university bucket list. Our parents care about us so much more than we’ll ever realize, and they’ve been a safety net our whole lives. My parents are my rock. They worry about me when I’m not around, and I often overlook those “night dear” texts that they typed on their 2003 blackberry. They care with a timeless parental charm, but it’s pretty darn special if you ask me.
- I appreciate you. To be appreciated is one of the most beautiful feelings on earth. We all dedicate our lives quietly to someone or something, and when that underlying adoration is appreciated, you’ve found a keeper. Hang on tight to these people who noticed the small things, and be sure to tell them you appreciate them too.
I believe in love, and I believe in the magic it has to connect two souls. But, I also believe that sometimes love isn’t enough. To love and to be loved can be an addiction in many ways. So, why limit the confusing, unexplainable chills we get when we’re around someone special to merely 3 words? I know, that in my life people will change. Some relationships I have will stay strong, and others will weaken. I will love, and fall out of love, and then I’ll love again. But, there’s more than one important way to express how I feel toward those I care about, and I plan to cherish the words that nervously fall from my mouth to the boy of my dreams. Following the timeless rituals of love, let’s express these underappreciated sentiments cautiously, yet often and celebrate that love is much more than just the word itself.