Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family by Richard Charlson, Ph.D.

Below is a chapter from Richard's book:

Never miss the opportunity to say "I Love You."

In my lifetime I’ve heard many people complain that their parents (or spouses) either never or seldom said (or say) "I love you." On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve never heard a single person complain that his or her parents, or anyone else, said these words too often.

I can't imagine anything easier than saying the words "I love you." However, for whatever reasons, many people simply don't do so. Perhaps we don't believe that our loved ones need to hear it. That they don't want to, or they won't believe it. Or perhaps we're too stubborn or too shy. Whatever the reason, it's not good enough. There are simply too many important reasons to tell the people in your life that you love them.

Whether you heard these words enough in your own life or not is not the issue. At issue here is the fact that saying, "I love you" makes people feel good. It reminds them that they are not alone and that you care. It raises their self-esteem -- and makes you feel good too! Undoubtedly, in my family, we do many things wrong. One thing we do right, however, is tell each other how much we love each other. It's simple, painless, and free. It's one of the most powerful sentences in the world. People who know they are loved (because they have been told) are able to offer the world their love in return. They have a quiet confidence and a sense of inner peace.

One of my firmest beliefs is that when you have what you want (in an emotional sense), your natural inclination is to give back to others. So, by saying "I love you" to a single person, you are, indirectly, helping the world at large. There is perhaps no way to guarantee that someone will feel loved and appreciated. But certainly the way to increase the odds is to tell him or her so, frequently. Genuinely saying the words "I love you" can erase many mistakes in the eyes of your loved ones. I know, for example, that when I’ve had difficult times with my kids, remembering to tell them I love them has helped us to forgive one another and move on.

On a more selfish note, saying "I love you" has personal benefits as well. It feels good.  Since giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin, saying the words "I love you" more than makes up for not hearing them enough throughout your lifetime. It's absolutely true that giving is its own reward. And saying these loving words is one of the most basic and simple forms of giving.

There are so many opportune times to express your love in this manner -- when you enter the house, right before you leave, before bed, and first thing in the morning. In our family, we have developed the habit of saying "I love you" before hanging up the telephone when we're talking to one another, as well as before we begin eating a family meal. Your opportunities are unlimited. This will be one of the easiest things you ever do --and, when all is said and done, one the most important.


  1. Here, here! We make a huge deal of it. Especially when someone is angry. The easiest thing in the world is to reassure them that no matter what has happened, I love them. Take care and thanks for the great comment. Lane

  2. Shannon's quilt is lovely I hope she was pleased with it!
    The old machines are so sturdy and easy maintenance.
    Made to last!


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