Do you ever feel like your relationship with your parents could be better? Find 10 reasons why you’re grateful for them and be the first in your family to say “I love you” and things will begin to shift. In this article, I go over my success story, some tips on how you can do the same, alternatives to the “scary words” and some inspiration to get you started. Excited? Let’s get started!
I come from a more conservative family in Romania and we are not used to saying things like “I love you” to each other, may be because of the communist mindset still floating in the air or it’s just our culture. And here I am talking about the pure and sincere “I love you” to a dear friend or family member not how much you like someone – be aware that love is a different feeling than liking something.
“Love is a different frequency. You have to love your enemy or love people that harm you. You don’t have to like them or the actual act, just love them. Love is a different frequency.” – Michael Beckwith
Growing up, no one ever never told me that they loved me and I am sure a lot of you can relate to this, especially if you grew up in Eastern Europe, even though the videos at the end of this article made me realise that it’s a problem that most of the world confronts with. Even so, I am confident that with all the positive changes going on in the world, our generation has the power to change this once and for all. I believe every person on this planet has the right to be told that someone loves them and too many people die every day without getting a chance to hear those wonderful words from their family or friends.
Before we move on, let’s get one thing straight: you are, by no means, a weak person if you express your feelings to a loved one. On the contrary, you have to be a strong person to be able to tell someone that you love him/her.
Moms Come First
After watching a few movies, I realised that it can be different and I decided that something needs to change. After weeks, probably months of self-sabotage and fear of being judged or not getting the expected reply back, I finally had the courage to tell my mom that “I love her”…in a text message. It was the first step and I just wasn’t ready to tell her face to face.
That was the moment our relationship has changed and we began to bond much better and support each other more. I opened my heart to her and she did the same.
Since then, there’s not a single week passing by without at least an “I love you” over the phone, text or even face to face – yes, we’ve gotten that far, but don’t believe it was overnight – it took us probably 2-3 years to be able to say it regularly.
Not Everyone Reacts the Same!
This is a crucial aspect to consider, otherwise you can have your feelings hurt.
After about 2 years since I first told my mom, I felt that someone else needs to hear these wonderful three words and I’ve sent him a text. I am talking about my dad, of course. First time I said it, I did not get anything back – like nothing happened. It was a bit painful, but I knew he is different and has a different way of showing his feelings.
After probably another 2 years since the first attempt, I told my father again (in a text) that I love and support him, and this time the response was much better because I got a “Thank you!”, which was more than enough coming from him.
I have to admit that after my first attempt, our relationship started to become much better (it was always bad!).
To this day, I still did not hear it back and I might not ever hear my father say the three magical words to me, but I won’t let that dictate my level of happiness and wellbeing. I can choose to either live my life being resentful and feeling like a “victim” because my father never told me that he loves me or I can choose to look for other ways in which he expresses his love to me. It’s much better to accept that some people react and act in a different way and that you’re missing out by not looking for those signs, which sometimes can mean much more than those three words.
I haven’t gotten that far of telling my father that I love him over the phone or face to face, but small steps will take me in the right direction, I am sure.
I managed to change my relationship with my father from having a fight almost every week, because I wanted to blog full-time instead of continuing my studies (masters degree), to a loving, caring relationship where both parts know how and when to listen. But the most interesting thing happened when my father started backing me up to friends and family: I recently visited an old aunt and she always encouraged me to look for a power engineering job in Germany and I will be “set for life” just because it’s very well paid (unfortunately, 90% of the people believe that is all that matters – don’t get me wrong, I love money, but loving what you do comes first!). This time, however, she was very calm and interested in what exactly do I do online and she only told me once that she believes engineering is the right thing to do – believe me when I say it’s a very big step ahead!
You Have the Power to Change a Relationship
You can change your relationships with anyone by just becoming a bit kinder and compassionate, by taking the time to listen, by being there for them and genuinely help them. Be aware though and keep your patience level high, because results won’t come overnight. They might still treat you badly, but soon something very interesting will happen: they will be ashamed to harm you because of your kindness towards them!
It is really possible to change those around you if you change yourself, if you choose love over anything else. Love is really the answer!
I am a big believer in peace and that by responding with peace, love and understanding to any situation will do more good than trying to be revenged!
How to Prepare for the Big Day
1. Make a list of all the good things that could happen because you told them. This way you’ll force your mind to focus on the positive side of things and will eventually cut down from all the fear and doubt that you might experience.
2. What’s your goal? Is it to get a similar answer or just to get your message out there? This is very important because it will save you hours of frustration.
3. Get to know him/her – spend a few weeks being more aware of what they like, this way they’ll feel more loved and saying it won’t come out of the blue, which will raise your chances of getting a positive reply.
4. Start small – just a text or a note on the fridge would be just fine to start with. After you get comfortable, you can then take it to the next level.
5. Accept your fear – yes, you will feel scared, tensioned and uncomfortable, but that’s just fine. Accept them and think about why you do it in the first place. Take a moment to relax, take a few deep breaths and think about the big picture.
6. Wait for an answer (or not) – accept that your part is done. You can’t force them to say it back! All you can do now is wait and trust that your message was well received and it does not really matter if you get an answer because I am sure you put a smile on their face.
7. Lather, rinse, repeat – the journey doesn’t end after the first “I love you”. NO! This is just the beginning of a new and wonderful journey that could benefit you a lifetime.
TIP: to make it sound less odd, thank them for all they did for you and then tell them how much you love them.
Too Scared to Say it?
If you are too scared to say the three words, you can at least show your parents how much you love them. Here are a few ideas:
- write down a letter with 10 things you appreciate them for
- cook dinner for them
- take them out for dinner or even breakfast
- buy them movie or theatre tickets
- give them handmade presents
- take time to listen what they have to say or teach (see how to develop a teachable attitude!)
- treat them with respect, which doesn’t mean you have to approve everything they say.
- go home for important holidays
- call them once a week so they know you think about them
- be aware of what they like and do more of that
- invest in their hobbies
- send them away for a weekend
- take them for a walk in the park Sunday afternoon
- hug & kiss them when you leave
There are endless ways in which you can show your parents that you love them and care about them, just pick the ones that feel right for you. Always trust your intuition and work on your courage 🙂
Need Some Motivation? Get Inspired by These Videos
While doing a bit of research for this article, I’ve found these courageous young men and women who told their parents the magic words for the very first time. Very inspiring and I am sure this will bring the right motivation in your life to do the same.
Start looking for ways in which you can better appreciate those around you, we don’t have that much time on this planet and it’s always better to experience a few minutes of fear and shame, than a lifetime of regrets.
Here are a few important points to remember from this article:
- Start with the one parent that you feel closer to or that you feel would react best
- Back your actions by a strong why and it will make it easier
- Not everyone reacts the same, so there’s no need to feel disappointed if you don’t get a positive reply back
- Accept your fears and do it in spite of them
- Start small, a short text will do it and work your way up
- If you can’t say it, look for ways in which you can show them, for now
Remember that your parents are just the beginning. Once you master this, go and tell your closest friends, grandparents and people that you truly care about. The sky is the limit!
No matter what happened between you and your parents in the past, at the end of the day, they are the reason why you get to be alive. So try to find compassion and forgiveness in your heart and see the good side of them – we are all good in our essence.