Telling her, telling him, deciding for yourself. Saying it. Saying it aloud. Should I say it over text? Is that tacky? I’ll say it first. Wait, no I won’t. I’ll wait. Wait until I’m sure, until she’s sure, he’s sure, we’re sure.
Saying “I love you” is a complicated thing. We put so much weight on it. We choose the time, the place, the person, and we make sure we’re sure. But what’s forgotten sometimes is that those three words are just that: words, and nothing more. “I love you” is not a promise of eternal love, nor a binding contract to keep loving when it becomes difficult. It’s not even a guarantee of the present.
Love is intangible. Sometimes we find it and we hold on and we never let it escape us. Other times, we willingly let it go, and still other times, it slips through our fingers before we realize it’s gone. To avoid the loss and the chaos, we try to nail love down, to make it something tangible. We’re looking for affirmation, and we think we’ll find in those words.
“I love you.”
Love evades proof. Loving means never knowing the answer. Love involves faith: faith in those three small words and the actions that accompany them. Love means having faith in compliments, flowers, and hugs. Love also means having faith in bad days, arguments, and struggles. Loving can mean seeing love in the smallest things: a hand on your shoulder, a smile across a room, a contented sigh.
If we begin looking for proof, we will never be satisfied. “I love you” will no longer suffice. We’ll still be left wondering, looking for something more tangible, more binding, more sure. We won’t find anything. We think, “I’ll know he loves me when he says it.” But once he says it, we think “I’ll really know when he pops the question.” And once that happens, we find some sort of benchmark, some way we’ll “know.”
And the pattern repeats.
In life, few things are certain, and love is one of them. It ebbs, flows, and changes. Love, when expressed, isn’t always eternal. Sometimes we say it and think we mean it and then things change, we change, and we don’t love anymore. I’m personally a skeptic. I always need proof. Show me the numbers, the data, the facts. But I’ve learned that love cannot be quantified, proved, evaluated. It can only be shown, then felt.
The only way in which we can love is wholly, without doubt.
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this.” – Pablo Naruda
Inspiration for this post courtesy of Beradadisini.