When my son was a newborn, one of my favorite songs to listen to was “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss. It perfectly captured the love that had blossomed between my son and I. Even though he couldn’t talk or understand what I was saying, it didn’t matter: we said it best when we said nothing at all.
As I've grown older, I've come to realize that our actions often speak much louder than our words. Here are five ways to say I love you without actually saying it.
As a member of a 12-step program, I’ve finally learned the art of listening. In meetings, the concept of “crosstalk” is discouraged. We don’t comment on another member’s share. We don’t give them advice. We don’t criticize their choices. We just listen.
At first, truth be told, I didn’t get it. If we weren’t going to comment on one another’s shares, how would we all tell each other what to do? But as I’ve continued to work my program, I’ve come to adore and respect this approach. When I know that I can share my feelings without having to anticipate a reply, I feel safe and supported.
Similarly, because I’m not going to comment on another member’s share, I am not thinking about what I’ll say to them. This allows me to really listen. The next time a friend or loved one shares something with you, try not answering back. Try showing them how much you care about them by just listening.
I recently led a yoga book club discussion about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. One of the participants told a story about how his teenage daughter had asked for a loft bunk bed. Instead of buying her one, they decided to build one together.
We all agreed this was a great example of putting Gilbert’s ideas about creativity into practice. Now, not only does his daughter have a bed, but she has the memory of building that bed with her dad. Write a poem, draw a picture, or build something for or with the ones you love.
Isn’t it funny how we seem to spend so many years teaching children how to share, only to spend much of our adult lives fighting for what we see as our piece of the pie?
When we live with other people, it can be especially challenging not to get overprotective of the last banana or the best spot on the sofa. But as the old saying goes, everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten. The next time you catch yourself thinking, “No way. That’s mine,” push pause and take a deep breath.
Is this an opportunity to strengthen your sharing muscles while also showing that you love the other person enough to share something you want with them?
When my husband and I were still just dating, we walked through a grocery store parking lot while holding hands. A woman in the parking lot yelled to us, “Keep holding hands!” I’ve never forgotten those words of wisdom, offered to us by a stranger.
What is that gooey feeling that we get in our hearts when we hug our child or hold hands with our beloved? It’s love, of course. Touch is a great way to show love and affection. I love brushing my son’s hair off of his face or pressing my cold feet against my husband’s warm calves at night in bed.
As social animals, we really need touch to feel fully human. Show your love today with a gentle touch, and remember to keep holding hands.
I’d be lying if I said that getting my son’s breakfast ready every morning doesn’t wear on me at times. But most days, I am able to see this simple act of food preparation as an act of love. Knowing that he likes a straw with his milk and prefers his syrup in a separate bowl are two little ways that I can show him that I love him.
With cold weather settling in, I recently made a big vat of vegetable soup for my husband and I to enjoy throughout our week. I know that it will help both of us to be healthy and warm. Feeding our loved ones is a great way to show them how much we love them.
Have you ever noticed how food cooked by someone else almost always tastes better than something we cook ourselves? Perhaps that’s because we can taste the love.
What are some other ways that you say “I Love You” without saying a word?
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