There seem to be three things going on around this: I want to express myself, i want to be accepted in doing it, and i want to do it in a way that inspires rather than scares. My longing to express my love is motivated by wanting to create relationships how i want to rather than following some cultural paradigm. I long to do this out in the open, actually saying the words, not just through my acts. And i want to do that while holding the other person with care – the last thing i want to do is contribute to discomfort with an expression of love (even though i think it’s rather sad that an expression of love could contribute to discomfort!). I fear that if i do it, though, i will be viewed as an oddball and rejected (maybe out of the discomfort in the other). So, i want to still belong.
This, then, is where the whole irony of this is becoming obvious. Brené Brown suggests that “shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging” (39). I feel ashamed to express my love because i think that i am unworthy of love and belonging! And the antidote is the very thing i am too scared to do: Say “i love you”!
One idea a friend of mine and i came up with: Ask! So, even though i would prefer more spontaneity, i will play around with that – and ask more friends, especially male ones, things like “how would you feel if i told you “i love you”". And then we can talk about it. I could share why i am saying it – and at least try to explain that it doesn’t mean anything other than what it says – and we could deal with any discomfort that might come up. Who knows. Maybe that’ll start a revolution.