A few months ago I read a thing on parenting. The writer said that people shouldn’t tell their children “I love you”, they should tell them “I love the way you drew that picture of an elephant.” or something like that. The theory was something along the lines of giving them specifics, but honestly, it’s been at least two months and millions of read words ago, so don’t hold me to that. But it was something along those lines.
And yes, that thing has been in my mind, albeit the back, since I read it. Yes. I overthink things. I know. Yes. Sometimes I wish I could shut off the switch that makes me overthink things and question every single sentence and word choice. But that’s why I blog, so I can express the myriad thoughts that run around my brain every minute of every day.
I don’t think love should be conditional and/or specific. I think it’s OK to just love someone.
Now, that being said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying to your kid, “I love the way you get home from school, take a ten minute break, and then start your homework.” to say to your Husband “I love the way you take the dog out on the last walk of the evening because you know I hate that 10pm walk.” There is nothing wrong with telling the people you love why you love them. (and conversely, to nicely say, it drives me crazy when you leave wet towels on the bed)
So, here’s my point: even if my daughter didn’t start her homework early, or my husband didn’t do the late walk, I would still love them. My love is not conditional upon them doing those tasks. I am still going to say I love you to them even if they don’t do them. (though- leave enough wet towels on the bed and I might not say it too often…..)
Do you want to put conditions on love?
Do you want your someone to think that if they stop doing “X” or “Y”, you will not love them anymore?
Do you want people to put conditions on why they love you?
Do you want to constantly worry that if you stop doing something, they won’t love you anymore?
I know I don’t.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you should ever take love for granted. Or leave wet towels on the bed. It’s nice to be kind to those in your life, and do things they appreciate. It’s nice to be thankful of all the little things that they do to make your life easier/better. But that’s just kindness. Love and kindness should not be mutually exclusive- they should be present at the same time.
Tell the people you love that you love them. Just say “I Love You”. I tell my daughter that every day as she leaves for school. I want her to hear those words before she starts her day, because sometimes life sucks, and you need to know that someone is in your corner.
Tell them why you love them. Just because it will make them feel good.
Tell them you love them even thought they leave wet towels on the bed.