Sometimes we just don’t know what to say.
Situations may call for words. We want to give them. We want to speak love.
But we’re empty.
Here are six mantras I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh that we can repeat to others so they’ll know we love them.
1. “I am here for you.”
Just showing up is often the bulk of the work. Your presence is a marvelous present.
But tag the gift of your presence by saying the words “I am here for you.” It imprints upon others that you really do care.
2. “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”
But what about when someone shows up for you? That often leaves us at a loss for words, too. How can you let them know how much it means to you that they showed up?
Keep it simple. Tell others you see them and how it makes you feel. That’s another way to show love.
3. “I know you suffer, and that is why I am here for you.”
When you notice a friend is in pain, say so.
It’s an extra layer of love on top of the first mantra. Not only are you here for them, but you see their hurt. Acknowledging the pain of others can go a long way in helping heal it.
4. “I suffer, please help.”
This one may be the hardest to say. And even harder if the person you’re talking to is the one causing your suffering.
Your pride may prompt you to say the opposite—“I’m totally fine; I don’t need your help.” But acknowledging that you need help often prompts others to become the help you need. It’s an exchange of love.
5. “This is a happy moment.”
When you experience victories, these words come easily.
But when your friend experiences victories, celebrate with them, too, as an act of love. Even in ordinary moments, find reasons to be grateful for the here and now, together.
6. “You are partly right.”
When you are praised, say this to remind yourself not to take the compliment too seriously (maybe out loud, maybe silently).
Likewise, also say this when you are criticized (at least say it internally). By accepting your common humanity, you won’t become “a victim of a prideful illusion” nor will you condemn yourself for a weakness.
When we improve our communication, we improve our relationships. Using our intention to listen deeply and using our words to love profoundly, we understand more and are understood more, one person at a time.
Which saying can you use today? Which one would you like to hear? Please share in the comments.
updated from the archives
- When Hope Refuses to Stay Down
- Racism Hurts Everybody, Not Just Its Victims