Recently I was reading something by Christine Hoover and was struck by the phrase she came up with: Push through the Awkward. I’ve used it many times since then because I think it does a good job capturing something. I got kind of inspired to write a “Push Through the Awkward” series last month. I’m really not sure if it’ll be useful to anyone out there, but hopefully it will give you a little something to think about.
I guess this post could also be titled, “When it’s hard to say I love you.”
I used to not tell my parents I loved them. Without a doubt, this stemmed from an arrogant, selfish heart. In middle school, my dad drove me to school every day and would drop me off in front of a door crowded with self-conscious, self-focused pre-teens. He would always tell me two things: “Do your best for the Lord today.” and “I love you.” Like an egotistical jerk, I would slam the car door before anyone could hear him say it (as though that would have subtracted cool points!!…has anyone seen a picture of me from middle school??!) . Saying it back was the last thing on my mind.
Well, I remember very clearly when the tide changed. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when my best friend’s father was diagnosed with cancer. I wept for her like it was happening to me. For the first time in my life, when Dad would tell me he loved me, I would pause and feel ashamed at my resistance to reciprocate.
God wasn’t done working on me with this issue because in college, a girl on my hall lost her father suddenly in a car accident.
I remember distinctly calling my dad, letting him hear me cry, and then trying to awkwardly change my 18-year-long fast from saying the words ‘I love you.’
Now, most of you out there probably can’t relate. Perhaps you can express your love no problem. But, for the rest of the population, this is the sequence I went through to learn to say I love you to people (not just my Dad):
- The mumble. I had to start small. I would mumble, “I-luu-oo,” hoping maybe they wouldn’t hear me. It was a start, however pitiful.
- The Slightly-More-Intelligible Version. Now, at some point I tried to increase intelligibility. I also had to work up to increasing my volume. It was also helpful to rush while saying it, as to not give the recipient a chance to say it (or–as I sometimes feared– not say it) back.
- The clear, I-want-you-to-hear-me-say-this-version. This version was a real step forward. It was a decision to communicate, “I don’t care if it’s akward for you, and I don’t even mind if you don’t say it back. I just want to make sure you hear it.”
I just read this blog post post to my husband for feedback, and he’s not sure if this is a joke or if it’s serious. I guess I’m not sure either. I’m just expressing that I had to push through the awkward to tell people in my life that I love them. Although uncomfortable, It’s been worth it.
What about you? Was saying “I love you” an easy, normal part of your whole life or has it been at times hard (depending on the person)?
I guess the point is, this world needs more love…Tell someone you love them today! Even if you’ve never done it before. Happy Valentines Day!!