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The Three Hardest Words to Say are “I Miss You”

There’s another set of three words that are more difficult to say than “I love you.” I love you’s come from moments of joy and happiness and hope. You say them because you believe in the future of that relationship, a future with that person. Some people say I love you’s like their lives depend on it.

Other people, like myself, are more reserved in the giving out of that phrase. I’ve never said them to someone I’ve been in a romantic relationship with because I would have never meant them. And people’s hearts aren’t meant to be toyed with or used for pleasure. I love you’s are important statements, and should be given out carefully to family and friends and other loved ones.

But maybe even more challenging than saying “I love you” is saying, “I miss you.”

While “I love you’s” are often joyous moments, “I miss you’s” come from a different place. They come from a place of reflection and recognition that something didn’t go as planned. The hope that you once had in that relationship, that person, isn’t there anymore. I miss you’s come from the memory of good moments that were shared, and that are now obscured or tainted by what came from the I like yous and I love you’s. I miss you’s come from remembering a movie you watched together, or a card they sent you. I miss you’s come from missing the way someone jokes with you or the way they laugh. I miss you’s are a proclamation that there were wonderful, happy moments that aren’t there anymore.

I’ve learned to teach myself to suppress bad, unwelcome feelings. I’ve taught myself to try and never say “I miss you.” I’ve taught myself to hide my feelings, and never let others catch on that they mean quite a lot to me. It’s most definitely a character flaw; being guarded is just part of my nature. But in the past few months or so, I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you miss someone. It’s a normal human emotion to miss someone, especially when you see or hear something that reminds you of them.

Sometimes I think that I miss things a person did more than I miss that person. They’re things like: I miss you getting me flowers, I miss you reading my editorials, I miss watching TV together. I miss the role that they played in my life. But, other times, I miss the actual person; that’s the worst case of missing. I’ll miss their sense of humor or their humility or warmth.

But once I realized that it’s okay to utter the proclamation of “I miss you,” I realized the power of letting a chapter go. I miss you is recognition that something has ended. I was not able to let things go in the same way I can now until I said I miss you. It took me awhile to get to I miss you for many people; first there’s hurt, then there’s anger, and then sadness, and finally the recognition of I miss you. You can miss people and forgive them, and still not want them to be a part of your current life. That’s the most important part of I miss you: recognizing that while that person meant a lot in your past, now they are just memories. Those memories shouldn’t have to be tarnished because of how things ended. You believed in that relationship at the time, and that’s not something to be ashamed of. I miss you is not synonymous with I want you back.

At least for me, I miss you is a recognition that I’m ready to move on.  

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