I love you.
When it comes to those three words, often the first people we openly say them to is our parents – or, simply, the family that raises us. At first, we repeat it back, like any words and phrases we hear most often as babies. We begin to grasp the warmth of the phrase, the power it has to make those around us smile.
We move on to say it to stuffed animals and our favorite belongings (“I love lamp”) and family pets.
As we hit teen years, we might start casually telling our closest pals that we love them. The people who feel like ‘our’ crowd, who we take our first joyrides with around town, windows down and music way up. The friends who help us navigate our way through acne and first breakups and the overall dread of final exams.
Somewhere between young adulthood and quarter-life, we experience the tingly, electrifying, and scary sensation of falling in love – or in ‘like like’ or ‘in lust.’ The most vulnerable of ‘I love yous’ happens, perhaps more than once, and those three little words don’t seem so little anymore.
Typically only after we’ve said it to all of these other people, if we haven’t already, we learn to look our own self square in the eyes and say it. ‘I love you, mirror reflection.’ No long explanation or love letter needed for this one. It’s a feeling we finally reach once we understand who we are and why we’re worthy of such love.
What about the people we don’t know? Is it possible to feel real love for them? Pregnant women, who have yet to meet their babies, say it to their bellies. We may tell deceased friends and family who we barely knew or never met how much we love them. Some of us send love to divine forces in our prayers. But, what about expressing love to someone who has yet to show up?
In honor of National Love Note Day, my friends over at Loveumentary asked their listeners to share their love letters with them. For their single listeners, they suggest writing a letter to your soul mate — even if you aren’t sure if you’ve met them yet. They even hit the streets of Salt Lake City with a 75 ft piece of paper for people to write notes to someone they love publicly, and within two hours the entire sidewalk of paper was full.
For my letter, I focus on the man who I want to marry one day. When I write this, I picture a man who feels like home. The man who I will one day share my world with, and he’ll share his, and in the process we’ll magically create something that is ours.
He could already be in my life. Or, maybe I have yet to meet him. All I know is that I can feel his existence:
Dear love of my life,I knew I’d find you. Just like every dream that burns inside me until it is eventually ignited into a fire so big it escapes my tiny frame and materializes outside of me. You have been here all along. Thank you for loving me so fully and obviously — I never have had to guess with you. Your love and devotion to me is so clear.I love you effortlessly. Though relationships take work, it’s never been a question whether you’re worth the work. You are.With you, I am still me. But so at home. So much safer. I’m better for loving you so completely.With all my heart, creativity, and fire,Kristen
Go ahead and tell someone that you love them today – even if you haven’t met them yet. Energy that goes toward love is never wasted.
With courage, love, and intensity,