I enjoy a good romance or a good cry from the loss of a character I’ve come to feel close to. I like delaying or sacrificing my own current desires for my daughters. I like spending time with those I feel most connected to. These are all descriptions of love. But I’d really like to see us start getting more creative by using descriptions of how you show appreciation to those closest to you.
When I started using other words besides the word love, it opened a ton of different ways I could develop a healthy relationship with myself. “Yes, Self, I love you” just became redundant and didn’t really help me step into a place of action. Now, when I’m doing something for myself I define the action. “I’m going to allow myself to step away to write because it helps me unload my thoughts which gives me the energy to focus on the needs of my daughters and my mother.”
Love is a beautiful word and I don’t want to wipe it from our language, but maybe we have allowed it to become too general. We’ve allowed it to become this elusive thing that is selective to only those with the ability to feel, but that’s not true. So let’s stop using love as a magical word, and instead try out using different words or phrases that show how you are stepping into action for those closest to you.
Here’s a list of different action words that we can use instead of love.
First thing today, is to figure out how he will love her. He loves her, that isn’t the question. But how would he show her? Yesterday, it was with a small note, I love you handwritten on it that hid underneath her tea cup. A teacup he picked out for her and filled with black tea he steeped the way she likes it. But, today was a new day and another chance to figure out how to love her. He walked to the kitchen and leaned against the counter to think. He looked around at the bills scattered in front of the Keurig and the pile of discarded recyclables by the trash. He takes a deep breath and fear overwhelms his thoughts. That feeling of not being good enough weighs him down. But she needs his love and so he pushes through it. I’ll find something in the living room. Toys surround the perimeter of the room. The plastic, colorful, and imaginative toys lighten his mood. But, his fears whisper the word tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow it will be easier he agrees. And sits in the rocking chair his wife nurses in. It’s an awkward chair, not his first choice, but it was for her. There’s no use in waiting a voice from inside says. He reaches into his pocket for a small notebook he carries around with him at work and goes to his disheveled desk for a pen hidden by months worth of mail to be organized. He walks back to sit in the awkward chair and taps his chin. Eyes shut tight, he writes I love you because you exist and I love that. Those words are embarrassing to him, but he knows she needs to hear it. So he tears the paper from his small notebook and stands up to leave it on her seat. He walks away and turns to look at the note. I should rewrite it. He takes a step. No, no she will like it. It’s good enough.