The old saying, "actions speak louder than words," holds true when it comes to expressing the love we feel for others. This behavior may come easy to you, or you may struggle with showing your love, and if that's the case, you are not alone.
Previous traumas, relationship experiences, and past patterns of how love was modeled for you as a child, all play a role in how you express love to those for which you care. The good news is, by actively showing love, you'll receive it back in ways you never expected.
Rather than focusing on how much you are loved, shift your awareness to how much you express love. It's not to say that you neglect yourself. Instead, it's like looking at the glass half full or half empty. Try looking at the ways people express their love, with some of the following:
- Sharing kind words with you.
- Showing patience when you're frustrated.
- Or listening when you're happy or sad.
In other words, they are there for you. Use these examples to express your love back to them, then try cultivating an appreciation for the little things instead of expecting grandiose gifts as a token of someone's love. Not that presents are inherently loving or unloving; they're merely objects, that over time, fade or lose their appeal. Sincere appreciation provides fond memories and strength.
Express your love. Let loved ones know you're thinking about them, not just on special occasions by doing some of the following:
- Text, write a letter, or send a card.
- Call simply to tell them you miss them or love them.
- Let them know you hope their day is going well.
- Buy a random card.
- Cook a dinner complete with candlelight.
- Take the kids for an afternoon so your partner can have some needed alone time.
Take time to think of the needs of those you love. This doesn't mean you can fulfill their every whim or desire. Show your concern for them without it being unhealthy, manipulative, or co-dependent. Ask your loved one about their day, their desires, their pain and their passions.
And then sit back and listen to your loved one. A big part of expressing love is listening to your beloved. Think of how you feel when you're not heard. You may feel neglected, ignored, or even unimportant. These aren't positive feelings that nurture a loving relationship. When you listen with your heart, you begin to understand more fully. Ask what you can do to help. More than likely, knowing that you're there to support through active listening is enough.
If you have a concern or hurt feeling, express yourself. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to resentment, which won't help. If you're fearful about something, be honest, let go of your pride, and don't be afraid to be vulnerable.
When you're transparent with your emotions, you're showing the person you love that you trust them with your whole heart, and it's a powerful example that your loved one can reciprocate, letting go of pretenses and being real. This is fertile ground for growing love.
Let your loved one know when you miss them, whether it's physical yearn or something more ethereal. Maybe one of you has been traveling for work, or you live apart from each other. Perhaps you miss laughing with them, or riding bikes together or having sex, let them know what it is you miss, and not in an accusatory way. Simply say, I miss …
Love ensures all relationships grow healthy and strong, especially our most intimate.
If you're struggling with giving and receiving love in your relationships, we are here to help with Imago Relationship Workshops and Relationship Therapy. We also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!
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This blog post was written by Mara Fisher, LCSW, MCC.
Mara is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Master Certified Coach. She is also a Certified Imago Therapist and Advanced Imago Therapist.
Mara's career has grown out of a gift of intuition – which she's been aware of since childhood – and a natural inclination for using that gift to help empower others. Guiding and coaching feel as adventurous to her as the way she's lived her life. Born in New York City, Mara took European trips in her youth and has lived in England, France, and New Mexico in the United States.
Mara believes the boldness and confidence she gained through taking risks and expanding boundaries have contributed to her personal and professional successes. She loves seeing the joy in her clients when they find the courage to challenge themselves and transform their lives as well.
Mara has been a perpetual student, always exploring her inner self by learning new skills and techniques that help her to understand herself, other cultures, and what it is that makes us human. She applies that learning in a way that enables her clients to live fully in the present, to face the challenges in their futures, and to live their dreams.
For nearly three decades, Mara has focused on methods that help her clients realize that they already have answers to their questions. Instead of letting them give their power to her because she can often intuit what is going on in their lives, she can help them claim their power and solve their own problems.
Today Mara serves clients all over the globe through telephone and email communications. Her approach with each individual is uniquely shaped by who the person is and by their circumstances and needs. Tools and techniques selected for each client come from the expertise she's built during her career.
Check out Mara's website too!