“I love you”…do I say it or not?


Over the years these words have been underused, overused and misused and it has gotten to the point where we have forgotten how or even when to use it. We mostly use it now maybe only for our boyfriends or girlfriends or when we want to obtain favors or for emotional blackmail. Sometimes even to say it to our loved ones (mostly family members), it’s kinda awkward. Or we don’t use at all because we’re scared we’re gonna appear weak or someone’s gonna take advantage of us. It’s really sad but I get where all of this is coming from.


As Africans, based on our culture, the distance between the parents and the kids is huge and there is a real barrier as to showing our feelings or expressing ourselves. You can’t really tell your parents “I love you” lol…the highest you’ll get is a ‘thank you’. Maybe out of fear or respect but when it comes to your feelings, you need to be very careful as to how to express them. So we grew up not really knowing how to say it to our parents and sometimes siblings. Nevertheless, we love them still.


We are in a generation where relationships are so over the top. Everything is ‘relationship goals’ and we glorify them so much. It has come to the point where we can barely stay on our own or single. We always need somone around, some validation. We need to know someone loves us and we settle for less. We forget we need to love ourselves first. So we use the words “I love you” to belong, to hold on to someone. To not be alone. I’m not saying we are all pretending in our various relationships, but we have made it in such a way we believe saying “I love you” solves everything or is the key to real happiness. So it is reserved just for the relationships.


In this very process of trying to find love anywhere and everywhere, we tend to love the wrong people or if I should say, those who will manipulate and abuse our love. We tend to confide way too easily, trust way too quickly. We give effort and time to people who don’t even value us and we wonder why at the end of the day, we hate love because we have been taken for granted. We feel we aren’t good enough. We even lose our self-esteem and sense of humanity. We are even maltreated but we stay in the name of love all because we don’t know our worth, our limits and what love really is about. We misuse it.

We tend to rush things alot: friendships, relationships and even our feelings. Sometimes things happen too quickly and we feel they are real. We don’t even allow ourselves to understand what we’re feeling; we just run at the speed of Usain Bolt to put titles on them. And then things keep being rushed and in the end we wonder if we are truly in love or we just fell for some potential. We really need to learn how to assess our feelings and say things when we mean them and are genuinely ready to work hard to keep sustaining those relationships.

I’ve met nice people and they’ve all wanted to date me but I have so many reserves as to why I’m not getting into any relationship now. First, I’m still getting to know so many things about me I had no idea I could do or even be. I am still rediscovering who I am, what I want and how to control my emotions. Plus I’m still dealing with some issues in my past and I can’t allow someone in my life when I’m still in the process of mending, forgiving and healing. But in all honesty, there is that fear of opening up to the wrong person, of being vulnerable all over again, of investing, of being misunderstood and all and it gets scary. But it doesn’t stop me from appreciating everyone around me and I make sure I hold on to those who’ve been there for me. My heart is big, so is my love.

All in all, I think we need to be always intentional about what we say and we definitely need to have te right intentions. We need to express oursleves more towards our family members and parents. We need to acknowledge the fact we need each other and whether we want it or not, we will love. The heart wants what it wants. I’m learning to use the word ‘I love you’ when I mean it and even though it gets all crazy, I do believe the right people will understand and respect how you feel. I’m learning to express more and it don’t matter if you my bf or not, if I do love you, I’ll say it. And if I feel the word ‘love’ is too big, then I use “I appreciate you”. At the end of the day, I just need to let you know you mean something to me.

I hope we get the chance to appreciate everyone we have in our lives. Tell them you care, that you’re there, that you miss them. Tell your parents you appreciate everything you’ve done for them. Same thing as your friends. I can’t wait to love someone’s son with my all, completely and with no insecurities. Trusting and knowing my love is real. I hope we all find the love we deserve. God bless and have a great day.

Sammy J.

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