In today’s society, telling someone how much they mean to us causes most of us great anxiety. Expressing emotion and letting someone know how you feel means making yourself vulnerable to rejection and feels awkward.
The unfortunate thing is that hearing words such as “I love you”, “You are the most important person in my life”, or “Thank you for being by my side” have the power to make us feel extremely happy. When we hear these words from someone we care about, it affirms in our minds that they care about us, too. This then reduces our fears of rejection and also eases our anxieties about returning the favour.
We don’t just “know”
Sometimes we fall into a pattern of thinking where the people who we love most – our best friend, partner, children, or parents – just know that we love them. After all, look at all the other ways we express it through our actions, all the little things we do for them? Surely we don’t also need to tell them, right?
Wrong! While words without actions are also meaningless, without actually saying the words “I love you” and “You are important to me” our loved ones will eventually be left wondering. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an everyday thing, but it should be frequent enough that no one is ever anything but 100% confident about how much they mean to the other person.
These words motivate and energize us
When someone tells you they are proud of you or they appreciate you, it makes you want to continue to make them feel that way. You don’t want to let them down. It helps you and your loved ones build trust between one another and pushes partners to always be thinking about what’s best for the other person and how their actions might affect then.
Children need verbal affirmation, too
Kids haven’t yet developed the ability to recognize the nuances of body language or how acts of service display love and affection. They need to be told in a very straightforward way: Through hugging and regularly hearing “I love you”.
Kids who grow up knowing they are a loved and important member of the family have more confidence as adults in social settings and in the working world. Without this, children will grow up having trouble both identifying and expressing different emotions. This makes it challenging to form deeper bonds with people, and they will end up living much more lonely, solitary lives.
Social media is affecting our ability to communicate feelings in-person
While receiving a text from a loved one saying they love you is nice, nothing beats having them look you in the eye and tell you to your face. Unfortunately we’ve become so accustomed to communicating online that trying to form words and talk about how we are feeling is cause for great anxiety for most people. Most of us would prefer to have conversations like that via text rather than in the real world.
The problem with that is that we can’t always convey the correct message or tone that we want to via text, and we are completely out of control of the way the receiver reads that. They may completely misconstrue the intended meaning of the message.
We can re-learn how to communicate our feelings to others with practice. The more you confirm with your loved ones that you love and care for them, the more apt they will be to do so in return.