I remember in high school sending love notes to a boy I liked. The notes included how much I enjoyed the song “I Wanna Make it with You” by Bread. I thought it was about a relationship working out. He avoided me for an entire week. My heart pounded every time I spotted him. Then he would turn and walk the other way. I finally confronted him. My confusion and desire for an explanation became stronger and braver than my fears about having done something wrong.  

He admitted that his mother had gotten the notes and forbid him from interacting with me. His mother thought I was a hussy kind of girl which was the furthest from the truth of how awkward, even socially backward I felt. I had no opportunity to explain myself as his statements came out as fierce declarations. He mentioned the song by Bread, and I remained hopelessly confused. His red-faced anger landed like thick hot sauce on my chopped liver heart. Weeks later I asked one of my friends about the song. She immediately stated, “Oh, that’s totally about making out!” Sigh. How naïve I was. 

I remember telling a guy at a college reunion that I had crushed on him from a distance throughout our four years. His face turned crimson. He looked dumbfounded. He clearly didn’t know what to say. He wisely said nothing. Completely embarrassed, maybe even ashamed of myself, I slunk away while making an internal vow to not admit my love for another human being.  

Fortunately, I broke this vow many times. My heart and mouth seemed to refuse to remain committed to this promise of silence. There’s this idea of speaking from your heart which I now know is distinct from letting your heart do the talking without your brain being on board with caution filters and red signs flashing, “Do Not Open Your Mouth Right Now!”  

In the past, many of my expressions of love both written and spoken have often been ignored or deflected. 

I wrote unique, custom-fit acknowledgment letters as gifts to- during that time of my life- family members who barely glanced at the pieces of paper while an uncomfortable silence filled the room. I realized I failed to communicate in their languages of love, which obviously did not include words of acknowledgment. 

Yet even these unforgettable experiences have not thwarted me or my ever-enthusiastic, elastic, seemingly unbreakable, utterly shattered heart. 

I believe I’ve finally arrived in a place and have created with beloved ones, cherished friends, and even colleagues, an openness, a sacred space for genuine expressions of love and appreciation. For this, I live utterly grateful. 

Having what your loving heart must speak received by other human beings can become healing, a beautiful transformation in the experience of living. 

May you forever know in your soul and heart that sharing how much you genuinely love and appreciate another human being remains a most courageous and beautiful gift of emotional exposure. Loving other people without attachment, conditions, expectations, or regulations takes bravery and can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a human being. May you proceed without caution on this messy, unwavering, unrelenting path of love.   

The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately supports people thriving by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, and life. Laura is the published author of four books including Live Inspired which reveals the brave and deep work of self-discovery and her new book of short writings and poetry Abundant Heart: Thoughts on Healing, Loving, and Living Free where with her characteristic grace and candor, Laura shares thoughtful-sometimes comical reflections on healing, loving and living free as inspirational pathways for experiencing a soul-centered, fulfilled life.