The below post by Dennis Merritt Jones talks about the importance of saying of hearing the words I love you. In his blog, Dennis points out that the impact of these words is great even if they come from complete strangers. I couldn’t agree more.
While reading it I was reminded how much a touch, a nod or a word from a complete stranger while caring for my terminal husband helped me.
I was reminded of the kindness I found in various waiting rooms or treatment centers of hospitals. Sometimes the gestures were as simple as the handing of a tissue but its impact profound and transformative.
As people we have an innate need to connect to share happiness or sadness. We want to connect to feel we belong.
The words I love you carry such meaning in them as to make both the giver and the receiver instantaneously feel connected.
So why don’t we say it more often?
Sometimes because we believe those words should only be uttered to others that make our hearts skip a beat. But what if we thought of love as a way of being? Wouldn’t we then have love for all?
How happier wouldn’t we all be if we heard often that we are loved? How happier wouldn’t we all be if we could tell others we love them?
Changing the way we all relate can start with each one of us. It can start with us feeling love within and wanting to share it with all that cross our paths.
What if every day of your life you heard I love you. What if every day of your life you said I love you. What would your life feel like? Take a minute to imagine it before you respond.
I know what my answer is:
I LOVE YOU.
Please read on…
I am declaring war against “should have, would have, and could have”.
Someone just called and in a conversation challenged me by indicating I was not sensitive to African-Americans because I didn’t think the use of the word “colored” in the original lyrics of the song “Ol’ Man River” written almost 100 years ago by Oscar Hammerstein for the wonderful musical Showboat, was a racist lyric.
I pointed out that during that period “colored” was the way polite southerners referred to African Americans. I further pointed out that Showboat had a book by Edna Ferber, taken from her previously written novel, and one of the central themes of the story described the pain that was caused by racial prejudice. I mentioned that Hammerstein was the same man who wrote the lyric in the classic musical South Pacific for the song “You’ve Got To Be Taught” which told how children went through indoctrination to learn “to hate and fear” people of different races. I described the original cast of Showboat which employed more African-American actors than any mainstream musical theater production prior to it’s opening on Broadway. I went on and on. Finally I ran out of steam, said “Goodbye” and hung up the phone.
As soon as I had finished the conversation, more and more thoughts popped into my head, I should have said such and such or what if I told him such and such, finally I calmed down enough to realize that these “should have” thoughts were useless. Then I started thinking about how wasted are the thoughts that consider what one should have said or should have done. So now, I’m clear, there is no turning back. There are no second chances to get back what has been done.
I am left with only two options. The first is when I talk to someone, when I interact with someone, when I am with someone, I have to try to remember I can’t turn back the clock.
So I realize I should tell the people I love that I love them. I should take the time to be careful that nothing I do hurts or upsets the people I come in contact with. I should pay attention when I meet people with needs and help when I can.
The other option is that when I fail to live up to this, I should immediately correct it. I shouldn’t stew over what I should have done or could have done or would have done if I had thought of it then, I should try to find a way to cure the mistake instantly. I should try to go back and find out if there is something I can do for the person in need, if there is something I can do or say to soothe the hurt I have caused unthinkingly, if I can tell someone I love that I love them.
Let’s all look around and see where we have messed up and let’s try to cure it because feeling guilty isn’t a cure for anything.
Love is a strange thing. It can be the most amazing feeling in the world, or it can really hurt, but in the end love is something most, if not all of us, will face. It does not make you a bad person to desire someone else’s love, even if they do not love you. However, to truly love someone, you must let them be free. It is selfish to blame them for your feelings. While there are many different ways to define love and there are many different ways to love someone (even yourself), here is a general guide to loving.
1. Say it. When you say the words “I Love You”, they should carry with them the desire to show someone that you love them, not what you simply want to feel. When you say it make sure you really mean it and are willing to do anything for that special person.
2. Empathize. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Rather than impose your own expectations or attempt to control them, try to understand how they feel, where they come from, and who they are. Realize how they could also love you back just as well.
3. Love unconditionally. If you cannot love another person without attaching stipulations, then it is not love at all, but deep-seated opportunism (one who makes the most of an advantage, often unmindful of others). If your interest is not in the other person as such, but rather in how that person can enhance your experience of life, then it is not unconditional. If you have no intention of improving that person’s life, or allowing that person to be themselves and accepting them as they are, and not who you want them to be, then you are not striving to love them unconditionally.
4. Expect nothing in return. That doesn’t mean you should allow someone to mistreat or undervalue you. It means that giving love does not guarantee receiving love. Try loving just for the sake of love. Realize that someone may have a different way of showing his or her love for you, do not expect to be loved back in exactly the same way.
5. Realize it can be lost. If you realize that you can lose the one you love, then you have a greater appreciation of what you have. Think how lucky you are to have someone to love. Don’t make an idol of the person you love. This will place them under undue pressure and will likely result in you losing them.
Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to intense interpersonal attraction (“I love my girlfriend”). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
As an abstract concept, love usually refers to a deep, ineffable feeling of tenderly caring for another person. Even this limited conception of love, however, encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual emotional closeness of familial and platonic love to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love. Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
From a scientifically testable frame of reference, love is a type of interpersonal relationship where mutual assumption of good faith results in a state of emergence, i.e. constituents individually perceive the group’s social evolution as both beneficial and greater than what could be achieved by the sum of the relationship’s parts.
Biological sciences such as evolutionary psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience have begun to explore the nature and function of love. Specific chemical substances such as oxytocin are studied in the context of their roles in producing human experiences and behaviors that are associated with love.
From the perspective of evolutionary psychology the experiences and behaviors associated with love can be investigated in terms of how they have been shaped by human evolution. For example, it has been suggested that human language has been selected during evolution as a type of “mating signal” that allows potential mates to judge reproductive fitness. Miller described evolutionary psychology as a starting place for further research: “Cognitive neuroscience could try to localize courtship adaptations in the brain. Most importantly, we need much better observations concerning real-life human courtship, including the measurable aspects of courtship that influence mate choice, the reproductive (or at least sexual) consequences of individual variation in those aspects, and the social-cognitive and emotional mechanisms of falling in love.” Since Darwin’s time there have been similar speculations about the evolution of human interest in music also as a potential signaling system for attracting and judging the fitness of potential mates. It has been suggested that the human capacity to experience love has been evolved as a signal to potential mates that the partner will be a good parent and be likely to help pass genes to future generations.
I travelled to Brazil to see my dad a few weeks ago. He had some heart complications and so I decided to fly in to help my mom and be by his side.
In the plane, behind and to the right of me a beautiful young blonde sat with her 3-4 year old son.
Before we took off, I heard her on the phone say her husband would be flying down in a couple of days in his private jet. I started to wonder who this woman was. A private jet? Not too many people ever have that experience in their life. I could tell she was Brazilian because of her accent and that just added to my curiosity. What was her life like? Was her husband Brazilian or American? How did they meet? Was he young like her or was he her sugar daddy? My imagination kept creating new scenarios but what I was most struck by was the lovely manner in which she related to her son. They played together and it seemed to me that they were both having fun, real fun.
In the middle of the night when I woke, I saw her son lying on top of her. He was having trouble sleeping so she had him on her trying to comfort him. I know she was really tired but she kept stroking him and speaking to him in a quiet soothing tone.
Eventually the boy fell asleep. I kept looking at them as to me they made a beautiful picture of love.
In this world where we are always trying to put ourselves ahead of others to bear witness to the opposite is touching.
I know she was a mother taking care of her son but still for that moment at least to me her gesture was meaningful. Her son was more important than her.
I wanted to thank the young beautiful blonde for giving me that moment to treasure. So if you are out there young mom, my deepest thank you.
Reading Rumi has made me feel somewhat nostalgic for god. I miss him. Maybe he misses me too.
Maybe god is at his wits end. After all he has tried in vain to find a language that would get through to us. Surely, he thought, with all the imagination and heart he’d poured into the flora and fauna he couldn’t fail to get his message across. Somewhere he would find a listening audience. Even a few solitary listeners would do. He knew that words and magic tricks were of no use in dealing with a cunning species that had its own words and tricks. He’d labored to find a subtler method of communicating, a more refined language, a medium that would seep in under the radar screens of human consciousness.
It just didn’t work out. Instead of unfurling our contemplative antennae, we reverse engineered the whole starburst of natural creation down to its genetic skeleton. We managed to decipher the blueprints of the assembly line; zoomed in on the infinitesimal building blocks out of which everything under (and including) the sun is made – tiny particles that don’t even exist, not really, except maybe as a dark blip through the looking glass of an electron microscope.
Pretty soon the hands of God will rise up and issue a universal gesture of surrender. Having no purpose he’ll wave his magic hand and fade finally away. And no measurable change will be detected, or noticed.
And if man should paradoxically follow in the footsteps a non-existent God – losing his way, losing any sense of coherence, losing his taste for existence in a like manner, he too will exit the universal stage. And no one will notice a thing.
The 3 stages of love
Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage might be driven by different hormones and chemicals.
Stage 1: Lust
This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.
Stage 2: Attraction
This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.
The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.
Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine!
Fisher suggests “couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship” .
And finally, serotonin. One of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.
Does love change the way you think?
A landmark experiment in Pisa, Italy showed that early love (the attraction phase) really changes the way you think.
Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who’d been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
By analyzing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.
Love needs to be blind
Newly smitten lovers often idealise their partner, magnifying their virtues and explaining away their flaws says Ellen Berscheid, a leading researcher on the psychology of love.
New couples also exalt the relationship itself. “It’s very common to think they have a relationship that’s closer and more special than anyone else’s”. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment.
Stage 3: Attachment
Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin – The cuddle hormone
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm.
It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.
Oxytocin also seems to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.
Diane Witt, assistant professor of psychology from New York has showed that if you block the natural release of oxytocin in sheep and rats, they reject their own young.
Conversely, injecting oxytocin into female rats who’ve never had sex, caused them to fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own.
Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.
Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole.
Prairie voles indulge in far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also – like humans – form fairly stable pair-bonds.
When male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.
Source: The Wellcome Trust is the UK’s leading biomedical charity. Their mission is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health. This includes raising public awareness of the medical, ethical and social implications of biomedical research.
Explore-At-Bristol is one of the UK’s most exciting hands-on science centers!
A few years ago, I went through a very painful experience. Finding out that the guy you’re in love with is sleeping with someone else has a way of making you lose all self-confidence. Your heart feels empty and hollow. You feel unattractive, worthless, miserable.
On this particular day, I had spent the entire day crying and going on an emotional roller coaster that seemed never-ending.
I took a shower, hoping that would help me clear my head. It didn’t. So, I decided to get out of the house and go to my usual coffee house in Venice, California where I went to write. Maybe a change of scenery would be good for the soul. I called a friend and asked him to meet me there.
I arrived at The Novel Café with my hair still soaking wet, no make-up and puffy eyes from all the tears I had shed that day. I got myself a cup of chamomile tea and sat at a table to write while I waited for my friend.
Soon after, a man walked in – a stranger, no one I had ever seen before. But he reminded me of the man who had just broken my heart – dark-skinned, dreadlocks, Venice vibe. The man walked up to the counter, ordered his drink and turned to look at me. I could feel him staring but I didn’t look up. He came toward me, standing almost in front of me for what seemed like a lifetime but in reality it was only a few seconds. Finally, he found a chair across from me, sat down and opened a big book.
But, I still felt his eyes on me and could tell he wasn’t reading the book. I started to feel very uncomfortable – there are lots of strange people in Venice and at this coffee house, they were regulars. I was really anxious for my friend to get there.
Finally, my friend arrived. He asked me how I was doing. I started to cry. I then began to give him all the details of the break-up. The more I talked, the more I cried.
Half way through our conversation my friend said, “You know, there’s someone across from you pretending to read a book but actually looking straight at you?” I explained that the stranger had been doing that for the last half hour. My friend then said, “That’s Venice for ya, just a bunch of losers with nothing else to do.” For some reason his comment made me cry even more. I felt like one of those losers. I asked my friend if we could leave. The man was making me too uncomfortable.
As we walked out, we passed right by him. He made eye contact with me then lowered the big book he had on his lap, wanting me to see what was on it. I nervously looked down and to my surprise I saw two pages that were covered with amazing pencil drawings of me.
There was one of me writing, a second one capturing me as I ran my fingers through my wet hair and a third one of me looking out the coffee house window, deep in thought. He was not reading at all, he had been sketching me the whole time. My friend and I were speechless. The drawings were absolutely stunning.
The man didn’t say a word to me, he only smiled. I quickly walked out, too much in shock to even say, thank you.
Since then, I have gone back to that coffee house dozens of times and have never seen him again. But that night, this complete stranger gave me a gift of kindness when I most needed it. He was able to go beyond my outward appearance and see my soul. He saw something beautiful in me when I couldn’t.
As I walked out with my friend and into the night, I began to cry, completely overwhelmed by the experience.
My heart was full again.
Ligiah Villalobos is the Writer and Executive Producer of the feature film Under the Same Moon, (La Misma Luna). The film was an Official Selection at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and became the highest sale for a Spanish-language film in the history of Sundance.
Villalobos has been named “One of the 25 Most Powerful and Talented Hispanic Women in the Entertainment Industry” by the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard Magazine in 2007 and was recently honored with the 2008 Norman Lear Writers Award at the Imagen Awards.
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the others welcome, and say, sit here. Eat
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life
Derek Alton Walcott (born January 23, 1930) is a West Indies poet, playwright, writer and visual artist who writes mainly in English. Born in Castries, St. Lucia, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.
Psychologists have shown it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone.
Research has shown this has little to do with what is said, rather
- 55% is through body language.
- 38% is the tone and speed of their voice.
- Only 7% is through what they say.