As I was looking or something that may inspire me today I found this short article written by Mark Susnow frequent contributor to the Journal. It’s something to reflect on on a Sunday as you regroup for the coming week.
The Three Hardest Words
You usually don’t have profound experiences at the dental office but this day was different. As the hygienist adjusted the back of the chair, I found myself staring at a magical poster on the ceiling. I noticed the vivid colors of the sky as the sun was setting and the beautiful rock formations that were jutting out from the ocean. Underneath the poster was a quote by Henry David Thoreau.
“You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind.”
As I reflected upon this thought my mind wandered to a different thought. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” One thing is certain and that is when we feel good inside, it is natural to see the good in others. It is also true that when we feel love inside, we will see that love in others. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves…it’s an inside job that has its own language.
The language of love is the most powerful language on the planet. When I was single, I used the words “I love you” sparingly because I didn’t want to mislead my partner into thinking that I felt differently than I did. What I didn’t realize at the time was that those words would always be difficult for me to say. Even when I tell my wife Annie, I love her, those words still seem charged and as they do when I say those words to my children.
What I have found is that I use variations on those words. When signing a letter it is natural for me to sign it with “love” as opposed to “I love you.” Some friends use the phrase “love ya.” With others, we occasionally end the conversation with “I love you” and there is a pause and a reply. “I love you, too.” I might say, “I loved it” when referring to a movie or a book.
In the English language, we haven’t created words that enable us to express our deepest feelings. We can look to the Greeks for wisdom in this regard.
Two friends touch each other’s soul but are not lovers. The Greeks refer to this love between friends as philos. And we share a special love for our family that is different than any other love we experience. The Greeks refer to this love of family as storge. Spiritual love, or the love that is god is referred to as agape. The physical love, when lovers embrace is referred to as Eros.
The language of love is an acknowledgment of a person’s essence and their inner beauty. If we are not comfortable with the more accepted language of love, it is important to create our own language; a language that acknowledges others; their greatness, their gifts and their blessings. By becoming more comfortable with this language and using it more often, we can open the doors to deeper connection in our lives. We can also cut loose the old patterns of criticism that have been preventing us from experiencing the intimacy we desire in our relationships.
I remember after 9/11, I vowed to express my love and gratitude to my family and others as much as possible. Through “Letters on Life” and the many people I am blessed to be in contact with, I get to practice. As time goes on it gets easier and I look forward to more opportunities. It’s an exciting journey with new opportunities being presented constantly. Please let me know what your “three hardest words” are.