Week 36: The power of a pronoun

I have been thinking about family and relationships this week. That’s because I just had a wonderful weekend full of family.

My cousin got married in Temecula (southern California’s wine country), and almost everyone in my dad’s family made the trip. I got to see grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, aunts, uncles, cousins (along with my parents and brother) from California, Illinois and Wisconsin. Because I have lived far from the Midwest the past four years, I hadn’t seen some of those relatives in years, and it is very, very rare that we are all together. Between that and the wedding extravaganza itself, it was so much fun and such a special weekend.

As I might’ve mentioned, one of the greatest benefits of my life in California has been getting to know my relatives here so much better and, in some cases, getting to know family (older cousins, their spouses and their kids) for the first time, really. As an adult, I am getting to reconnect with, spend time with and build relationships with people I didn’t have in my life growing up. I had a similar experience with my aunt and uncle in Connecticut, and I appreciated it so much.

My relationships with both friends and family are very important to me. Hopefully, the people in my life can see that. I know I am not perfect. I don’t always say the right thing, I get impatient, I talk too much, and I can be sassy. But I try to be my best self with people I care about, I work hard to stay connected, I attempt to be thoughtful, and I strive to ensure the people I love know I care. I like to think no one would deny the effort I put into my relationships, albeit from far away.

While I was mulling over the weekend, saying goodbyes to family and thinking about all this, I was reminded of something I read a while back. It’s something that stuck with me: Say “I.”

I can’t remember where it was, but I read a study of some sort showing that if you say “I love you,” it has a much greater impact than just “Love you.” The inclusion of “I” makes a difference in how the words resonate with the person you’re addressing. Same goes for “I miss you” versus “Miss you.” I love linguistics and psychology, so I found this very interesting. However, I think it stuck with me because I agree with it. “I miss you” does seem more heartfelt and more powerful than “miss you.” “I love you” somehow expresses more than “Love you.”

Ever since I read that, I have tried to include “I” in these types of sentences, whether in text messages or phone conversations.  As I said, I want my family and friends to know I care and value them, so if something as simple as including a pronoun better communicates that, I am absolutely going to do it.

Endnotes:

Currently reading: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Currently watching: How I Met Your Mother, season 8

Song of the week: Justin Bieber’s “What do you mean?”

Plans for the weekend: I had five days off for the wedding and holiday weekend (woohoo!), but that means I’m working pretty much every day the next two weeks. This weekend, I’m probably just working and getting back into my routines.

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