I love you, man!

Posted: October 26, 2014 in ADVENTURE STORIES!, Hope, TRAVEL
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I’m recently met a German girl named Chris who overheard me praising our cook:

“I loooooove collard-greens, Peter! Thank you!”

She called me out:

“You’re one of those typical Americans who loves everything, aren’t you?”

I was taken aback.

“Hell no!” I exclaimed and recounted my life in relation to that dreaded 4-letter word.

While I loved inanimate/non human objects and verbs (working out, my car, steak-cooked blue, my cat) I very rarely tell another human being that I loved them.

I told her the story of my current boss/business partner, Misti, who spent MONTHS showing her appreciation of me and  breathing life into my mentally crippled post-travel brain. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours of phone calls and emails of asking me questions, sharing web links and YouTube videos, asking for my opinions on things. It took even longer for me to realize that she genuinely cared about me. I wasn’t just a grunt doing work for her.

Confession: It took me even MORE time to admit to myself that she actually cared about my happiness and success.

(I’m slow sometimes.)

I’ve had good bosses in the past- but no one who has taken this type of time to dig past all the bitter-jadedness and hate that walking-into-a-Walmart-after-traveling will do to you.

She opened me up. She has taught me more (by sharing her own thoughts, books, ted talks, introductions, etc) about myself and how to perceive the world in a shiny and positive new way. She engaged me, empowered me to do what *I LOVE* doing- and we found out how to work (well) together.

Now- she had been telling me that she loved me since we started working together, but I never took the leap. She would constantly call me out on it and say something like “you’re not afraid of jumping off a bridge with a rubber band attached to you, but you’re afraid of talking about your feelings?”

Yes.

“You’re not afraid of traveling to weird foreign countries by yourself, getting (poorly) kidnapped, admitting failed business ideas…. But you can’t talk about your emotions?”

Correct.

Then I realized how silly that was.

So- After 8 months of working together, I told her the 3 silly words that terrified me more than Ebola-ridden snakes painted to look like clowns:

“I love you”.

Instantly my chest froze. How vulnerable! How naked! How raw! I loved a person for taking an interest in me. But she was my business partner! She had all the power! She could cripple me at any minute!

I spent the rest of the day doing the normal thing: hiding under my covers with my cat (who has never said she loves me!) and watched The Departed. (The most anti-love story I could think of…)

I flashed back to the present where Chris was listening in disbelief. “You love your boss?!?”

I was ready for her to say something like “crazy Yankee”- but she didn’t.

Instead she said, “I love it.”

“Huh?”

“My family loves me, sure, but we never say it. I know it- by their actions, but we never say it. This is common in Germany. But when I lived in America as an au pair, I stayed with a family who took me in and instantly loved me. They told me everyday that they loved me. It was an exceptional feeling! It was freeing! And made me instantly close to them. I love them, too- and I tell them that. They are my second family.

“That whole experience made me understand how to express my feelings and it’s impact on others.”

Spoiler: Misti didn’t abuse the “new power” I gave her that I was so worried about. Nothing bad happened- only good. More trust, more responsibility, more understanding, more smiles, more feedback that makes me a gooder person, and (my favorite part): more laughter!

So what am I so afraid of?

I should take the leap more often.

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Comments
  1. Tamara Harden says:

    Love you, LN!

  2. Misti Burmeister - Inspirion LLC says:

    It’s easy to love you, LN!

    Misti:)

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