1. Tell them how important they are, often.
Here’s a wake-up call for you: No matter how sure you are of someone’s love, it’s always nice to be reminded of it.
Loving someone and having them love you back is the most precious phenomenon in the world, and it should be expressed as such. When you truly love someone, be loving in words and deeds every single day. Don’t beat around the bush. Be straightforward.
If you appreciate someone today, tell them. If you adore someone today, show them. Hearts are often confused and broken by thoughtful words left unspoken and loving deeds left undone. There might not be a tomorrow. Today is the day to express your love and admiration.
2. Communicate your feelings openly.
Your parents may have told you that it’s not what you say but how you say it that counts. This can be true in a professional setting, but when it comes to your closest relationships open, honest transparency is imperative.
Express how you truly feel. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Give the important people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Express your fears, tears, doubts and insecurities – let your loved ones experience YOU. Have the courage to be yourself in front of them.
Relationships flourish when both people are able to share their innermost feelings and thoughts about themselves and each other. To be fully seen by someone, in raw form, and be adored anyhow, is what love is.
3. Speak the truth.
As a wise man once said, “I tell the truth because it’s the easiest thing to remember.” Living through a facade puts an incredible burden on your emotional well-being. Speaking the truth, even and most often when it hurts, frees mental space and increases your ability to connect with the people you care about. Keep in mind that a large part of such openness requires taking personal responsibility for your wrong doings. If you know, for instance, that your actions or words have hurt a loved one, you must immediately admit your faults and face reality.
If you live for the truth now, you will find comfort and peace in the end. If you live for comfort and peace now by avoiding the truth, you will get neither comfort nor peace nor truth, only wishful thinking to begin, and lasting regret in the end.
4. Ask thoughtful questions and listen intently.
Too often we underestimate the power of a thoughtful question and a listening ear that’s fully present and focused. Although it’s a simple act, it may very well be the most powerful act of caring – one which has the potential to turn a life around.
And once you inquire, be sure you listen to understand, not to reply and hear yourself talk. Oftentimes a reply isn’t even necessary. Listening is a sincere attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another that both attracts and heals, perhaps without ever saying a word.
5. Let your actions speak for themselves.
Actions often speak much louder than words. When you love someone you have to act accordingly. They will be able to tell how you feel about them simply by the way you treat them over the long-term.
You can say sorry a thousand times, or say “I love you” as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t. If you can’t show it, your words are not sincere.
And remember, it’s not so much about how much you do for your loved ones as it is about the love you put into what you do for them. Learn what matters most to them and make a habit of it.
Touch has a lasting memory. Sometimes reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a beautiful journey. Sometimes a long hug speaks louder than all the words in the world. Sometimes your lips can’t accurately articulate what you mean without using them to kiss. And sometimes, quite frankly, a moment of touching is the difference between hopeless despair and the ability to carry on.
Physical touch can make or break a relationship and can communicate respect or ridicule. Some of us require touch more than others, but some physical interaction – be it a hug, a handshake, a pat on the back, or otherwise – is important in your closest relationships.