I say “I love you” or other things like “You mean a lot to me” to people often. I always mean it when I say it. I know the power of words. I understand what impact my words can have on people. I also know that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

My mom became sick when I was 8. She died when I was 16. We developed a thing where before I went to bed or after we talked on the phone, we always said “I love you” to each other. I didn’t know if my mother was going to be alive in the morning.

I started saying it to my grandparents before I said goodbye or hung up the phone. I say it to my dad every time I talk to him on the phone or before I go to bed. I even say it to my dogs.

I began saying it to my friends. I didn’t normally, but I’ve changed. I realized the power of words. I realize tomorrow may never come for me or for someone else. I never want my friends to feel as though I don’t love them because I know that feeling quite well. I don’t want my friends to think my “I love you” has an expiration date. So, I tell them often.

I always mean it if I say it. I chose my words carefully. If I say it, I mean it. I have worked for the past few years on being honest and sincere. So, when I say, “I love you,” “I care about you,” “You mean a lot to me,” – I do mean it. I don’t use those words or phrases lightly. I know the meaning and impact they have and I respect what it means.

So, if I say “I love you,” to you, know that I mean it. If you say "I love you" frequently too, don't be ashamed of it, be proud, it's who you are.