Before you start again, here are a few ideas that may help you along the way:

"I see you"

When people say "I love you" and it is meant truly, they are not relating to you as just a body; they see the real you. Love sees not just with the eyes, but with the heart, too, and it sees your soul. Love sees your eternal loveliness. Love sees the person you are trying to be. Love sees how loveable you really are. That’s why hearing the words "I love you" can give you the courage to be seen. Hence, love helps us to bring each other more fully into existence.

"I accept you"

In love, we see each other because we do not judge each other. "I love you" can mean "I see you" and also "I accept you." To accept another person is a fully sacred act and never a half-hearted love. It means, "I offer you love, and nothing that is not love." Seen in this light, "I love you" is a vow of acceptance between two friends who are declaring to each other, "I will not judge you" and "I will not label you" and "I will not condemn you." Each time you say "I love you," you are renewing this vow of acceptance and making a commitment to being the presence of love in someone’s life.

"I thank you"

Love is a grateful heart. When you say "I love you" to someone, you are saying, "I am grateful for you" and "I am grateful to you." This gratitude is recognition for all this person gives to you by his or her presence in your life. You are saying, "Thank you for loving me" and "Thank you for seeing me" and "Thank you for accepting me" and, as the old lyric goes, "Thank you for letting me be myself." Gratitude recognizes that none of us can discover who we really are by ourselves. It is by our undivided relatedness with each other that we experience our loveability.

"I am here for you"

Each time you say "I love you," you are really saying "I am here for you." "Being here" means being fully present in the relationship—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Saying "I love you" means "I am committed to you" and "I am committed to us." You are telling that person you are in this relationship. You are not waiting for the relationship to sparkle or to improve before you commit to it. You are not playing it safe. You are not wearing a mask. You are not just trying to get something. You are really here, and this relationship really matters to you.

An I Love You Inquiry really can transform our relationship to love and to each other. One final thought: Every time you feel moved to say "I love you," it is because you recognize that "love is here." When you tell your friend, your lover or your child, "I love you," you are acknowledging that we are always held in love—even when we can't see it. In every relationship, there will be challenges and conflicts and occasions when we cannot feel the love. In these moments, one heartfelt "I love you" can restore us to love's awareness, which sees that if I am present and you are present, then love must be present, too.

Loveability: Knowing How to Love and Be Loved by Robert Holden

Robert Holden, PhD, is the author of Loveability: Knowing How to Love and Be Loved. He hosts a weekly show on Hay House Radio called Shift Happens! and also contributes daily to his Facebook page.

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