Time is short, start telling loved ones ‘I love you’
IF ALL of the cards, flowers and gift suggestions everywhere you go are not enough of a reminder (it can be hard to escape!) you may still not realised that it's Valentine's Day tomorrow. If this is news to you and you have a current partner then you still have time to do something lovely for them.
For me, while respecting that it's everyone's choice to celebrate certain days, holy or otherwise, I think it's a shame that we have to nominate a particular day to do that. So let's talk about love.
My husband has taught me to tell those I love that I love them and not just as a mumbled one-off but on a regular basis. I was beyond grateful for this guidance when I decided to follow Nick's lead and close every phone call and conversation with my parents who lived in the UK with "I love you".
Up until then I don't think they had ever actually told me they loved me directly, although I knew they did and they both showed their love in different ways. Mum would shower us with gifts and dad was the hugger and listener. You may have experienced something similar. Some months after starting this new approach I started to get "I love you too" back, first from one and then from the other and it came both as a surprise and a delight.
I can only guess how uncomfortable that was for my parents having grown up in the era they did, particularly with strict and detached parents in my mum's case, and yet once they said it they seemed to become more comfortable. I've now started to do the same with my sisters who are also overseas.
And over the years I have come to believe that with love there is no "sometimes" or "this much". You either love someone or you don't. Sometimes it may not feel like love because we disagree with them, dislike that thing they do or get embarrassed by certain behaviour but to me that's what real love is. Loving someone and accepting them just as they are, every day, unconditionally and that can be challenging at times. I'm grateful to Nick because those I love know that I love them and when my parents passed away, even though I didn't get to be there with them at the end, I knew they knew too. None of us is ever aware of when we will have our last conversation with the people we love or they with us. So even though it may not come naturally and feel awkward to begin with, tell them you love them; tell them today; tell them every day. What are you waiting for?
*Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: http://www.mindsaligned.com.au