I presented from Ira Byok’s book, The Four Things That Matter Most, to a group of women yesterday.
His four things are, the importance of telling people:
1. I love you 2. Thank you 3. Forgive me 4. I forgive you
I began my presentation with the importance of telling those we care about that we love them, actually saying the words. I had barely gotten started on this point when I noticed one woman sat with a scowl on her face. My anxiety grew as I witnessed her expression growing more and more irritated. She let me continue for another couple minutes and then shot her hand up to make a comment.
“Saying I love you, is overrated and over used, it is thrown out there cheaply, we don’t even know what it really means anymore!” Her tone of voice was cold and detached, the vibe was so negative.
Ugh, talk about a wet blanket, sheesh. I acknowledged her comment and tried to reframe my first point. I told the group, “What I meant is, to say I love you to those significant people in our lives in a genuine, authentic way is a gift we can give to them," blah, blah, blah.” I went on with the presentation and before I finished the discussion she gathered her things and left early.
I was unprepared for my own internal reaction to this woman. First I was ticked, then I was dismayed, how could someone object to me encouraging others to say I love you? Then I was curious, I wondered about her… is she hurting, has someone rejected or rebuffed her? Who in her life has said those words to her and not meant it, leaving her disappointed? My conclusion, she needs to hear the words, I love you, most of all. On my way home, I prayed someone in her life would say the words in a way that she needs to hear them.
I still believe that Ira Byok has the right idea. So many individuals never hear the words, I love you. So many adult children long to hear a parent say, I love you. So many people have experienced an instant healing of past pain when the right person says the words; I love you. So as the holidays approach and you gather with those who mean so much to you, say the words. Get your courage up, take the risk, surprise someone, and tell them you love them.