The Power of Saying "I Love You"
A few years ago, I was talking with my relationship coach and she told me something that forever changed my life. She said, “Jimmy you are most loveable when you are vulnerable, authentic, and in integrity. And the more you can lean into those 3 values, the higher quality of people you will attract into your life.”
From that point on I have worked to do exactly that. At first it was uncomfortable to leave my sisters house and say, “I love you!” That just wasn’t what we did. But as that become comfortable so did calling my friends and just randomly telling them that I loved them too.
A couple of months ago I was with 3 of my closest friends, giants of men in my community, and we had a moment where we were able to open up to each other. One of my friends pulled the other 3 of us aside and said, “Guys, I’m going to get vulnerable with you like I never have before. You are 3 of the strongest men I have ever known and I respect the hell out of all of you. I’m about to become a father for the first time and I am terrified. I’m going to ask a weird favor but I am trying to be more vulnerable and I want to ask if you 3 will help me to raise this kid. Not every day but just be sources for me to lean on. Then he said, “Another thing, my love language is words of affirmation and because I don’t ever ask for it, most people assume I don’t need it but I’m going to ask you if you will just let me know every now and then that I’m doing a good job. That I’m making a difference. That I’m helping make the world a better place. Just tell me you love me."
I have never loved this friend more than I did in that moment. It was so honest and so vulnerable. I would never violate the beauty of his ask. Since that time, we constantly tell each other how much we love each other. We call and tell each other how proud we are when we have success and we encourage each other with authentic words of love.
This past week I was able to go tour around Ireland and Scotland with 7 of my best friends from high school. We visited some of the most beautiful country in the whole world. We laughed, we made a ton of jokes, but the most beautiful thing to me was on the last night. We were staying in these little cabins in the north of Scotland, a place called Isle of Skye. The place looks like it is straight out of a movie. I had been hurting a little from the week before when I felt like a close friend not part of this group had made me look really stupid in front of a group of people. Instead of building me up he took something from me and in the process made me look bad. I hadn’t really processed it, mostly because I was just enjoying my friends in Europe, but then it kind of all hit me that night.
I told my close friends that I needed a little love. I got vulnerable and we spent the next 3 hours all going around in a circle telling each other how much and what we loved about each other. Not one of us didn’t cry. We all got our buckets filled by those that we love the most. We heard things that made us realize how amazing we all are individually. The crazy part is, we can always do this for and to each other but we just don’t. It’s much “safer” to just joke around and keep the conversations on the surface. But what I discovered once again, just like I had months earlier with my other friends, is how much each of us is just dying to share love.
I’m no longer afraid to ask my friends when I need to feel their love. I’m no longer afraid to give praise and love to those I admire and spend my time with. There is so much power in being able to share emotions from a place of power and love. To be Vulnerable, authentic, and in integrity.