When I say “I love you,” what I’m really saying is “I love me.” It means that I am sharing a moment with you that has allowed me to just be me. That you are secure enough with yourself to allow me my personal freedom to explore, love, enjoy, and be filled with life. It means that you have given me a moment absent of judgment, expectation, anger, or shame.
And with each of these moments I have, I can learn, grow, and love some more. I can become the person that I want to be, the one that truly makes me happy. One that is confident enough to try new things, feels safe within her own thoughts and emotions, and brave enough to express herself in a thousand different ways.
So you can see that when I say “I love you,” what I really mean is “Thank you.” Thank you for showing me that I can truly love myself.