If There's No Tenderness, It's Not True Love
Love without tenderness is worth nothing to me. I don’t want it. It’s not true love. For me, tenderness is the most enlightened form of affection. Every word, every gesture, and every hug offered with tenderness is a display of one’s true essence, and it reaffirms the bond with a loved one.
Not all of us are made of the kind of material that allows affection to flow through the veins and give true meaning to love. It takes a certain serenity and inner peace to enjoy the subtleties of cuddles and sincere affection, the kind that touches the skin and makes the heart beat.
“Nothing in love is small. Those who await grand occasions to express their tenderness do not know how to love.”
In a book published in 1999, Paul Ekman, one of the most well-known psychologists in the study of emotions, argued that tenderness is a basic emotion that many of us have neglected. With this emotion, care, affection, empathy, and intimacy work in harmony to confer security and attention.
Tenderness is, above all, an act of giving. It is the most authentic expression of affection.
Expressing tenderness daily is dignifying
Tenderness dignifies us as human beings. It teaches us that simple things can become dignified and wise. They can break down walls, selfishness, and materialism, and put us skin-to-skin and heart-to-heart with our loved ones.
However, there is one thing we can’t forget. As we’ve said, not everybody knows how or is able to offer true tenderness. A good dose of inner peace, emotional maturity, and self-knowledge is needed. Because to love passionately and honor tenderly, you have to offer the best of yourself, and this will never be possible if you’re already running away from yourself.
Another thing to keep in mind about the daily exercise of tenderness is that it doesn’t have to be expressed only in the most intimate moments. In the art of sexuality, tenderness is expressed through the body. However, people who are wise and committed to affection know that tenderness is closeness. It is the desire to take pleasure in the language of affection and please the other person’s heart.
Affection as a path to self-knowledge
None of us have been taught what the most enriching foundations of love are, or what doesn’t hurt, or what allows growth. We weren’t shown or taught from a book, but we’ve seen it and experienced it in childhood. Every child is initiated into the world of affection in more or less the right way.
Tenderness is the most powerful bond that exists, necessary for fortifying a strong and healthy attachment between parents and their children. It’s also the most important kind of emotional support for a child. Later on in life, we’ll incorporate those meanings, gestures, and affectionate rituals into our relationships with our own loved ones.
This shows us that tenderness should be present throughout one’s entire life, because care and affection are signs of a proper emotional education.
When you practice it without reluctance or fear, you’ll get better at communicating. You’ll know the right words to choose to immerse yourself in someone else’s eyes. You’ll be able to build the kind of intimacy that nurtures affection, silences fears, and extinguishes doubts. Because there’s nothing as powerful as a hug when your loved one needs it the most, but even more satisfying is offering a hug for no reason in particular except that your heart demanded it.
That being said, now we know how important it is to educate ourselves on the mastery of affection and to become experts in tenderness. Only then will we be able to create more solid, meaningful bonds. Whether you believe it or not, love receives its strength and life from the tenderness, care, and affection that’s written in the simplest, most basic everyday things.
The expression of tenderness is gentle, delicate, and brave, because it forces us to reveal our true essence and share it with the person we love without fear. In doing so, we’re letting ourselves be known without putting up walls or defenses. This smooths out the path and promotes a more complete, even exceptional, encounter.
Because tenderness is ultimately what gives energy to the elderly, puts children to sleep, and pushes men to let down their guard.