The Love Ripple | Learning to say, “I Love You” | by Janine Durso | Inspiring Story #113

The Love Ripple | Learning to say, “I Love You” | by Janine Durso | Inspiring Story #113

i-love-you-love-ripple

Janine never imagined using 3 simple words "I love you" could influence her family to change.  That is until she meets a special friend, who sends Janine on a love crusade that ripples out, creating a profound generational change. 

At my first big job in New York, I met a friend named Lori.  She had a big personality, a large group of friends, and she was always doing something fun.  We connected instantly. From the very beginning, I noticed that whenever Lori said goodbye to her parents or friends -  either on the phone or in person, they would say “I love you” to each other. Not mushy or over the top, just matter of fact. Like I just want you to know this because it’s true.

This took me totally by surprise.  It was like they were speaking a foreign language!

I was in my early 20s and couldn’t remember a single time when someone other than a boyfriend said “I love you” to me. Not my parents. Not my eleven siblings. Not my grandparents or aunts or uncles. No one! Not that my parents didn’t love me.   I know they did.  They showed their love in the way they provided for us, but the actual words were just not part of their vocabulary. I thought speaking love was only for romantic relationships.

I was soon swept up in the language and Lori was the first friend I would say, “I love you” to. It felt so freeing! I had been hidden behind a cloak of secrecy… don’t speak the love… don’t look it directly in the eye…

Eventually I started saying "I love you" to my closest friends before hanging up the phone. At first it was a little awkward… then it wasn’t. It took a little time, but it soon became the way we end a conversation no matter what. As I met new friends in my 20s, I saw that this was not so unusual. Everyone was saying it to the people they loved! Where had these people been all my life?!

I thought, well, if I’m saying it to my friends, why do I feel like I can’t say I love you to my family? To my own mother? (My dad had passed by then).

I was afraid at first to say it. What if they don’t say it back? What if it’s weird? Oh, this is going to be so uncomfortable. What if it's repelled by the individual coats of armour we have built around ourselves?

I needed to find out.

I had been hidden behind a cloak of secrecy… don’t speak the love… don’t look it directly in the eye…

So, I went on a love crusade with my family. I started saying it when we wrapped a conversation. In person and on the phone.

It was so interesting.  Some people wouldn’t say anything back which was fine. Some hung up quickly. Some just said “yup”. One brother chuckled uncomfortably and said it back. And my mom said OK.

Progress! Lol

I didn’t let up. I said it regardless of the response. It was my truth and that’s all that mattered. I just wanted them to know.

Some siblings wanted to chat about this new habit, so we did. We talked about why this was a challenge now that we were adults. And it made it easier to change.

About two years later, we were all in Pennsylvania for my brother’s wedding weekend. After the brunch the next morning I would be leaving on my own to drive to another state to visit a friend. As I said goodbye to my mom after this fun, family-filled weekend, I said, “I love you” as I hugged her goodbye.

As we released our embrace, my mother held my hands tightly in hers and looked me in the eye apologetically, tinged with helplessness.

“I don’t know why I can’t say it back," she said in an almost whisper, "I just didn’t grow up that way.”

I smiled softly as I held her hands and said “Neither did I.”

And in that moment, we both knew it would be different from then on. And it was.

And in that moment, we both knew it would be different from then on. And it was.

Not just for me and my mom, but for the whole family. It took a little practice but soon we realized it was weird NOT to say “I love you” when we hung up the phone or left each other. Adults saying they love each other. It was a radical journey we went on together.

One small step. A pivot. A practice. A habit. A truth. A word. 

Led to a ripple. A connection. And a generational change.


Meet Janine Durso

Hi there, I’m Janine and I’m a certified life coach. I am committed to helping women create the life they really want.

After years of being on the corporate hamster wheel and living my life on rinse-and-repeat in NYC, it took a health crisis and lots of personal loss to realize that something had to change. I didn’t want to live on autopilot. I felt stuck. When I became a life coach, I learned the tools that would change everything, without anything in my life having to change. The power was within me all along, I just didn’t know how to tap into it. Now I have learned how to be the creator of the life I really want, and I love to help women do the same.

Website:  janinedurso.com 
Instagram: @janinedursocoaching

Free 30-min zoom coaching call

I’d love to help you identify what’s holding you back and give you a few tools to help you create the life you really want. Don’t wait for it to just happen. It’s within you right now. Sign up for a free 30-min coaching consult and let’s create a life you love:
calendly.com/janinedursocoaching/30min


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I Met My Husband in an Airport Queue by Helen Brown | Inspiring Story #9

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When Helen Googled the words "Holidays for Single People" over twelve years ago, she had no idea she would find the love of her life in an airport queue

>> Click here to read more


Share the Inspiration
  • phyllis becker says:

    The story I needed this very minute feeling sorry for myself that I am not married to a man who can say I Love You and I find I can’t say it to him either. I do say it easily to my kids and some friends and to other men in my life. I needed a hug, I needed a word and now I think I just have to take them and not wait for them to be offered. Thank you. I think I love you

  • Evelyn Suarez says:

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. I do realize that “love” need to be said in words not just actions.

  • Kimmy says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story

  • Digitaldaybook says:

    Aw thank you for sharing this beautiful story on opening up and saying you love someone. Whether romantic or not it is important to express this!

  • Mary says:

    Beautiful post! As a child I always told my mom I loved her. Then one day it seemed like we didn’t say it anymore… As I matured and realized she was getting older I made my self get in the habit of saying it again!

    I’m not sure why those three words can be also hard to say to family. But you are correct, they are freeing and amazing!

  • Tammy Winder says:

    Janine, those ripples rise everyone around you. I am so blessed to be your friend. Love this gem and I love you

  • Smiley says:

    I miss my mum every day and love is what keeps me carry on with my life in her honour…until we meet again.
    On the other hand, we should say the word when we really mean it. Spread love ❤

  • I have 3 boys. Not a day passed by that I don’t tell them I love you. It is our everyday language. It is one of the sweetest words a son/daughter can tell his parents.

  • Windy says:

    This was so refreshing to read. Sometimes I have a hard time saying I love you to my adult family members but will say it willingly to the kids. Keep spreading love.

  • idara joy says:

    Saying I love you isn’t simple. It’s so refreshing to read about your journey of just saying I love you because your openness to that will enable others to also share.

  • Evelyn says:

    It is really hard to say “I love you”. Even to couples but I believe it is a way for us to be free from all the emotions inside us. God is love. Love is an antidote to all hatred and bitterness which we always see in the world.

  • Mufidah says:

    Some people have a hard time expressing themselves and their feelings. Love is a strong feeling. It’s still great to have that reassurance from time to time.

  • Lisa says:

    I love this article Karletta! I am the one who says “I love you’ to family and friends and the responses can vary. We can only be accountable for ourself! Keep spreading love wherever you go!


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    karletta marie - daily inspired life

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