Contributed by: Dania Shafei, a student of the world

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Story from: Maryland, USA

I’m 25 and it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I finally uttered the words “I love you” to my own family. Three words I gave up 10 years ago. It’s only been recently that I started to question why.

Why was I incapable of uttering 3 simple words?

It drove my little cousin insane. To understand why I had to back track to the time i swore it off and what my fallible understanding of love was.


It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t suffer a teenage heartbreak nor lose someone I loved to some tragic accident. I didn’t think much about love in high school because it was a turbulent moment in my life. My mother passed away when I was almost 2 years old and my father was never really in the picture. I was raised by my mother’s parents in my uncle’s home in deep Maryland. At the end of middle school, one of my father figures (my grandfather) had passed away. And in the beginning of high school my grandmother (who has been a mother to me and raised me since birth) had decided to move back abroad, and I moved from one uncle’s house to another in the suburbs of DC. I lived with a semi ‘new’ family. I didn’t have a cell-phone and so I called my grandmother once a week or so. I was on my own. Living with a new family (even though they were my relatives) and being away from my grandmother for up to even a year at one point created a strain on that aspect of my life. 

They say it takes 30 days to build a habit...and soon enough I built the habit of not saying “I love you”. I valued those words so much that I didn’t throw them around. At the same time while living with my uncle’s family I was strengthening a new form of love - Love through service.

I didn’t feel comfortable with saying “I love you” to the family I started lived with and so I started to show it through action. Soon enough I found my tongue freezing to the words of “I love you” but my heart extending it’s hand to those it cared about most. My idea of love became warped. Why warped?

I started to strongly view acts of service as the strongest form of love and started to not trust the linguistics of love. This all came to hurt me when I started to devalue one form of love over another.

I started to question my friend’s and family’s love towards me when I didn’t see them reciprocating love in the way I thought was right.

And that’s when I realized with the help of my best friend that everyone shows love differently in different degrees.

Some people value showing love through words so much more than acts of service. And some people put so much value in showing love through physical touch than anything else. And yes by now you are thinking about my references to the 5 love languages but it’s more than just the languages… 


I’m sure most of you have taken the love languages quiz where at the end of a 5 minute survey you’re told which form of love you value the most and which not so much. It’s a helpful test in understanding your love values but what I found was missing from these results was a big sign that says "no one love language is better than another".

Just because “acts of service” was highest on my list, it does not mean that someone not showing it to me means they love me any less. For them they might highly value words of affirmation more so than acts of service and them telling me they love me has just the same force of love as my service to them. And that’s when I had the self-epiphany and lesson.

I had to be considerate of what other’s valued as love if there was going to be an equal reciprocation and understanding of it.

Just because I found little value in saying 'I love you', does not mean that is the same to another person. For someone else, saying those words could provide them with so much comfort and could mean the world to them. 


Understanding this has only gotten me to understand a small % of what love actually is.

Love is a pretty difficult topic for me to grasp. It’s been something i’ve been working on for most of 2018 and will continue to work on each month in 2019. Although it’s still not the new year, I wanted to take the two months prior to train myself to reflect on love each month with the hopes that every month in 2019 I learn something new or reassess my own understanding of it.

To capture and share my love lessons I’ll be publishing a new article on every 10th day of the month. Join me on Dania's Love-ology Journey with Aida’s 365 days of love!  Subscribe here :)

-Dania Shafei 

Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Dania for sharing her story. I never actually never realized how for me saying I love you was so central to my expression of love and I thought that if I didn’t hear it back that meant the person didn’t love me as much. Thank you Dania for reminding me that love comes is communicated in different ways and we should find more ways to meet each other with understanding and love.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 332 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!



With Lots of Love,


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