At 15 years old, I was living out my rebellious years. I had push and pull arguments with my parents. I’d slam doors occasionally in frustration. I felt like I had all the answers, when in reality I had very few.
One day, in remorse for a door-slamming confrontation, I found myself standing in the living room behind my father’s newspaper, which he was reading at the time. I was determined to say “I love you” to my father. I felt compelled to do it. I wanted him to hear it. I wanted to say it out loud.
I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and my cheeks getting flushed. I had to leave the room and return twice just to to get my courage up enough to say 4 little words. ‘Dad, I love you’. The sentiment was true but saying them out loud felt terrifying to me. I wanted to break free from my comfort zone.
At 15 I was afraid to be vulnerable. I was afraid that I would make my Dad uncomfortable. I was afraid that I might feel embarrassed or worse, start to cry. Even though I was with my father, whose love for me was shown in so many ways, the words I love you were not easily expressed.
I wasn’t going to let my fear hold me back. I wanted to take the leap and make a deeper connection. I wanted to bridge the gap we were both feeling in that moment, and be the one to take the first step.
I finally did it. As he was holding his newspaper up to his face, I said, “Dad”? “Yes, he said, not moving the newspaper, “I love you” I said, loud enough so he wouldn’t have to ask me to repeat it. There was a pause. He lowered his newspaper and looked over at me standing there, waiting for his response.
Even from 10 ft. away I could see his eyes begin to slowly well up. I could feel the power of my words, and the effect they were having on my father. He looked at me, and with the softest look in his eyes, he said, “I love you too, honey”.
I felt our love extend out from our mouths through our words and flow across the room and into each other’s heart like warm liquid. It felt so good, and it was easier than I thought it was going to be.
I felt proud of myself. I made that moment happen. I opened a door that before I spoke was not open. I felt the power of speaking words of love in that moment and the power words had to touch someone. I experienced how words heal and open the heart.
The rewards of reaching out with words of love were so worth stepping outside of my comfort zone.
The next sentence was easier. “I just wanted to tell you that and, I’m sorry I slammed the door.”
I felt my comfort zone expand to include intimate words of love. All the fear of being vulnerable, or feeling afraid of embarrassment, vanished. I felt liberated and loved the response I got in return.
I started adding a hug to those words and pretty soon my push and pull adolescent relationship with my parents shifted to a more mature free-flowing expression of love and care. I never again hesitated to say “Dad, I love you”, and he never got tired of hearing it.
Overcoming my discomfort with saying I love you to my Dad, empowered me to speak up and express my feelings in all my relationships in life.
We all want to be comfortable, but if we live our relationships from a comfort zone that doesn’t stretch our capacity to love, that doesn’t push us to speak vulnerably from the heart, then we’re missing out on some of the sweetest moments relationships offer us. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. ☺
The next time you hug your partner, or smile at them from across the dinner table, or take their hand when you’re walking together, speak your love out loud so they can hear it. Don’t assume they know you love them, or assume they don’t need to hear what’s obvious. Feel your love, find the words to express it and let them flow.
This daily practice grows you as a lover. As you find your voice in non-sexual moments of intimacy, you’ll find more ease in using your voice in moments of seduction. Bring words of love into the bedroom and let them fuel your partner’s desire.
The next time you find yourself wanting to speak words of love and you’re feeling self-conscious or nervous about how they will land, breath deeply and take the leap anyway.
Wear your heart on your sleeve with those you love, and enjoy the rewards of stepping out of your intimacy comfort zone.
Stay well and love deeply,
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When I first saw Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues in 1996, One of the monologues stood out to me. It was a woman’s account of being with a man named Bob. This is some of what she wrote.
“…Turned out that Bob loved vaginas..."
The number one reason most people say they don’t speak their truth to their partner is because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. But I think it runs deeper than that. I think we don’t want to speak our truth because we’re not confident about having a conversation that will lead us to the deeper intimacy that can be found in truth telling.
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