“I Love You!”
“Pardon?” I said, somewhat surprised at his sudden declaration.
“Three words that can transform the world,” he replied.
“I guess,” I agreed tentatively, not quite knowing where he was going with this, particularly given that we were in the middle of moving his sofa, which I have to admit, was quite heavy.
“Are there three words, when put together, that are more powerful? More important to speak? More beautiful to hear?” he asked.
“What about, ‘you won the lottery?'” I countered, not taking him seriously. Wait, that’s four words! Damn!
“Je t’aime (French). Te amo (Spanish). Ti amo (Italian). Is breá liom tú (Irish). Ma armastan sind (Estonian). Nakupenda (Swahili). Sounds beautiful in any language, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” I agreed, thankful that he had missed my lottery gaffe, although I was wondering what the Tibetan translation for I love you would be.
“When a child says, I love you, Daddy or I love you, Mommy, it instantly melts your heart!”
“It sure does,” I concurred, a broad smile creeping across my face. I couldn’t help but think about the times my children had said those very words and how good it felt. Even now, as adults, I love it when they tell me they love me!
“When a man says it to a woman, or vice versa, a dark day suddenly brightens!” he went on. “Troubles melt away. Squabbles become irrelevant.”
“Yep … ”
“I love you, spoken to a child, is the foundation of a healthy self image,” he continued before I had a chance to expand on my response. “Three words that are oh so crucial in helping children to feel good about themselves.”
I knew what he said was really important, but I kind of lost focus thinking about where we were going with the sofa. My muscles were beginning to burn.
“When you get right down to it,” he continued. “At the root of all suffering and inappropriate behaviour is a lack of self love.”
“That makes a lot of sense,” I said, as my mind came back into focus.
“If you are suffering in any way … physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, in your relationships or career … chances are, a lack of self love is at the root of it,” he added.
“I guess the same is true for when we mistreat another being. We do so because we lack self love … we don’t feel good about ourself.”
“Without a doubt. When we don’t love ourselves we feel inferior, powerless, unworthy and inadequate and in a misguided attempt to compensate for these feelings, we behave inappropriately. We do things to ourselves and other people that are very destructive.”
“Why don’t we do loving things to overcome our lack of self love?”
“Sometimes we do, but I think we do it more so in an attempt to receive love in return.”
“And I guess if we don’t receive that love, we feel even more hurt.”
“Yes, inevitably we do.”
“It seems like parents play an important role in the development of a sense of self love.”
“Absolutely. Parents role is critical. Not only is it important that they give their children unconditional love, but it is equally important that they teach them to love themselves.”
“So, if I understand this correctly, most, if not all, of the destructive behaviour on the planet stems from a lack of self love, and this is mostly the result of a toxic parent-child relationship.” For the moment, I was completely engrossed in the conversation and had forgotten that my arms were about to fall off.
“Yes, it is. But we can change the experience. We can recapture the self love that was not ingrained in us growing up.”
“What can we do?” I asked.
“Here’s how each of us can do it. Stand in front of the mirror every day, look into your eyes and simply say, ‘I love you.'”
“Is that it?” I inquired. It seemed too simple.
“You can also sit beneath a tree, close your eyes and say I love you, or sit beside a lake, look out into the water and say it, or sit in a meadow, look up into the sky and say it.”
“I guess you can pick pretty much any setting.”
“Pretty much,” he agreed. “The key is to keep saying it.”
I thought about his suggestions for a few moments. It sounded doable enough. I knew there were studies that had been done that demonstrated how positive affirmations could change your faulty beliefs and even your DNA. I imagined myself standing in front of my bathroom mirror, repeating those three words. I could see myself doing it, but I had doubts about other people. “What about the dictators, hardened criminals, terrorists, psychopaths, child molesters and the people who are destroying the planet in the name of profits? Even some of my friends. How do we change them?”
“Lead by example,” he replied. “You can’t change them forcibly. You cannot exert your will on them. They have to want to change themselves. Show them love and send them loving thoughts. Overwhelm them with love and let them change willingly.”
What he said made a lot of sense. “I guess all the hatred we’ve been sending each other hasn’t really worked, has it?”
“Nope! Quite the opposite actually.”
“And we’ve had lots of good role models to show us how to live lovingly, haven’t we?”
“We certainly have … from Abraham, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad to Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, John Lennon and Nelson Mandela … although, most of them went through a period of transformation before love became their guiding light.”
I thought about all the people he had just mentioned and realized we had been given lots of excellent role models and a solid template for living in a loving way. “As John Lennon said, ‘all you need is love.'”
“Indeed. Even using just the first two words, I love, creates an entirely different feeling no matter what the situation or experience,” he added. “Words have energy and the way we use them creates an energy.”
“That’s true,” I agreed enthusiastically, thinking how I love teaching karate, how I love the summer, how I love swimming, and how I love my kids, and how I love the way it makes me feel saying it. “It’s sort of like the experiments conducted by Dr. Imoto, the Japanese scientist, who literally changed the molecular structure of water and ice crystals using words and feelings.”
“Exactly. And remember, human beings are 75% water. Love can change everything … loving thoughts, words and actions … and what better way to do it, than saying I love and I love you. As each of us discovers self-love, this loving energy transform the hatred, greed and fear that is suffocating the planet.”
“I love it when people treat each other with kindness,” I said cheerfully.
“I love democracy,” he replied.
“I love the idea of everyone living in abundance.”
“We could go on and on, couldn’t we?’ he asked.
“Absolutely!” I replied. “But what I’d love most right now, is to put this sofa down.”
“I love your suggestion,” he said with a devilish grin.
Have a lovingly awesome day!