How many lies are contained in the three little words “I love you”?

The biggest mistake is that it personalises love, it creates confusion around what love is. It makes love into a possession, of me, or you, or us.

If we shifted to saying “there is love” – wouldn’t that make things much clearer?

We’d recognise that love is a spontaneously occurring state between people who are open and present with each other.

Sometimes we feel it with people, sometimes we don’t feel it – even with the same people. Why, because we close down, or they close down. Our personalities protect themselves. We don’t share what’s going on inside and distance grows.

If we say ‘I love you’, then somehow it becomes a digital state, something that is there or not there, on or off. People create stories around this love attachment to one person. They get married maybe, then one day think ‘do I still love this person’ and realising that the love isn’t flowing as it once did, that they have ‘fallen out of love’ with them. I don’t love you any more, they might say… As if it’s a state that simply turns itself on or off, independent of doing the work to cultivate it. They’ve bought into a concept of love that doesn’t clarify human connection, it confuses it.

There was a recent viral article from the New York Times: ‘To fall in love with anyone, do this’. Two strangers are brought together, they follow a set list of questions which produce intimacy, then look into each other’s eyes for four minutes.

It produced strong connections and at least one marriage between the sets of former strangers.

Those who have done group work will recognise this dynamic. It begins as a room of strangers, coming together to share an experience and grow together – but after a couple of days of sharing our hopes, our fears, our innermost selves with each other – intimacy is formed. If the group is held well enough and the sharing is deep enough, you will find you have fallen in love with everyone.

Even something as seemingly simple as looking into someone’s eyes for a significant length of time (eye gazing in the hippie parlance) can create huge intimacy. OR on the other hand, can create the exact opposite depending on our level of self-awareness. Because we have to be ready to be truly seen by the other person, our fear, anger, guilt and shame is also tucked away in there, and we have to allow that to be present too – realising that the other person (so long as they’re not a dick) doesn’t judge us for them.

What gets in the way of connection is the unspoken, the judgements, baggage and detritus of our upbringings and past wounds. By speaking it, no matter how painful, difficult or even unfair it seems, we can clear the way to seeing ourselves and the other more clearly and for love to start to flow.