In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with picture-perfect images of other people’s lives, it can be easy to feel that what we have falls short.
From an early age, we are taught that love is what happens in the movies, all grand gestures, and romantic dashes to the airport.
It can be easy to miss the real, everyday ways people show us their love, and to take those things for granted.
So, keep an eye out for these 9 signs you’re loved far more than you realize.
1. People contact you.
It might not be what you traditionally think of as love, but every time someone sends you a text message, photo, or calls you, they have thought about you.
They’ve thought of you and have chosen to contact you.
People are busy with their lives, so to stop what they are doing and take time out for you—even if it’s just for a minute—is a sign of their feelings for you.
Perhaps you feel your grown-up daughter who is busy with a full-time job and teenage children doesn’t give you enough of her time.
Or maybe your old school friend with young kids doesn’t come to visit as much as she used to.
It’s true, they don’t give you the face-to-face time you want as often as you want it, but remember, in this modern age of technology, there are a myriad of ways that people can reach out to you.
Check the calls, chats, and photos you’ve received on your phone over the past week—you may be surprised by how many ways people have been in touch to let you know they are thinking of you.
To let you know they love you.
2. People choose to spend time with you.
Busy or not, when you love someone, you find time to see them.
So next time your daughter invites you around for coffee, rather than grumbling about how it’s taken her weeks to finally squeeze you in, focus on how she has managed to fit you in.
There are a million other things she could be doing, but right now, you are her priority.
In long-term relationships or marriages, people giving their time is frequently taken for granted.
We assume our partner owes us their time and we forget that every day they choose to spend with us is a conscious choice and a sign of their love.
So next time you and your partner do something as dull as going to the grocery store together on a Saturday morning, or you fall asleep in front of a movie snuggled up with your spouse, remember: they could have been somewhere else, but they chose to be here with you.
And they chose to be with you because they love you.
3. People show an interest in your life.
They give you their time, and they are truly interested in what you have to say.
As I mentioned, this might not always be face-to-face, but when someone loves you, they will find a way to show you that what’s going on in your life is important to them.
Perhaps your friend knows you have a big talk at work this week. They might text you beforehand to wish you luck, and then again at the end of the day to see how it went.
You might assume they are just being polite, but this small act shows they have stopped to think about you, and that they care about what is going on in your life.
When people love you, nothing is too trivial. They know the little things that make up your daily routine are as important as the big moments like weddings and house moves.
So next time a friend or partner asks about your day, don’t assume they are just going through the motions.
They are showing you they are interested in your life.
They are showing you they love you.
4. People remember the important stuff about you.
You might be thinking this means remembering birthdays and anniversaries (and gifts).
Of course, it is always nice when people remember a date that’s special to you.
But some people are just terrible at dates. Fact. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you.
That being said, if your loved one has a terrible memory for dates but knows that celebrating a birthday or anniversary means a lot to you, they will do all they can to remember it.
They might utilize technology to set themselves hundreds of reminders or stick post-it notes up all over their office.
But what I’m talking about here, is that they remember the stuff that makes you tick. Or not.
They remember you’re terrified of heights because of an accident you had as a child, and they don’t arrange a night out at a rooftop bar.
They know you absolutely cannot stand spicy food, so when they invite you round for chili night, they keep it mild, even though they love a bit of fire.
Big romantic gestures are nice and all, but remembering the small details is a much better sign that someone truly values and loves you.
5. People express love to you (in their way).
We often expect people to show love in the way we want to receive it.
But the truth is, there are a million ways to show someone you love them. And what comes naturally to you, might not come naturally to them.
Some years back I was introduced to the book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman. I discovered that my love languages (the way I feel loved) are words of affirmation (people saying nice things to me), acts of service (people doing nice things for me), and (yes, I know this makes me a bit shallow), receiving gifts.
(FYI, I’m not talking big expensive gifts, just anything that shows I’ve been thought about and appreciated.)
Unfortunately, as it often goes, my husband has a different love language.
He doesn’t need words of affirmation and he hates gifts. He feels loved through physical touch and quality time (although I do sometimes wonder if he means quality time on his own…).
How a person feels love is often how they end up showing love, because they assume other people feel loved in the same ways they do.
So, whilst we should all try to remember to give love in the way our loved ones want to receive it, this can be hard.
It’s worth remembering, then, that when your partner or friend does something for you that would make them feel loved if the tables were turned, it’s actually their way of showing you love.
For example, whilst I’d love my husband to tell me I look nice now and then, the chances are he’s not going to.
Instead, he’s going to show me love the way he knows how, by choosing to spend his evenings with me and giving me a random hug at some point in the day.
6. People appreciate you.
It can be easy to miss the signs of appreciation because appreciation, like love, comes in many guises.
A good old-fashioned “thank-you, I’m so grateful for everything you do” never goes amiss, but some people find it hard to put their gratitude into words.
So, if you’re not getting any overt words of thanks, perhaps look for some more subtle signs.
Maybe your best friend bought you some flowers and baked your favorite cake even though it wasn’t a special occasion.
Or your partner gave up their turn for a lie-in at the weekend and got up early with the kids both days.
Perhaps your teenage daughter greeted you with an unexpected hug.
Or your mum complimented you on the delicious meal you cooked her.
All of these, and many more, are signs you are appreciated and loved, even if it might not always feel like it.
7. You are supported.
We often take some of the less glamorous signs of love for granted.
We see them as things people are obliged to do, rather than a choice they’ve made because they love us.
But really, no one is obliged to do anything. We can say no and choose not to do something if we want to.
And when we choose to do something, particularly something we might not want to do, it’s a sign we’re doing it out of love.
Like when someone supports you when you’re at your worst.
Truth be told, no one wants to sit and listen to tales of hardships, daily gripes, and dark feelings.
But when they love us, they do it anyway. Because they want to support us.
So next time, your partner, friend, or sister patiently sits and listens to your woes, don’t think they did it because they had to.
Know that they did it because they love you.
8. Your loved ones make you feel safe, happy and secure.
When people love you, nothing is more important to them than your safety and well-being.
They want you to be your authentic self, and they accept you as you are, warts and all.
So, look around you. Do your friends and family have your back?
Do they encourage you to do things that make you happy? Do they cheer you on and help you achieve your goals?
Do they help you work through conflicts and give you understanding and compassion when you make mistakes?
Do you feel you can count on them in your hour of need?
If the answer is yes, then count yourself blessed. You are loved, even if you can’t always feel it.
9. Your loved ones are constant.
Ever heard the phrase, “Consistency is key”?
Probably not in an article about love.
But you cannot have love without consistency.
When people love you, they aren’t there one minute and gone the next.
They keep their promises through the good times and bad, and they stick to the routines of your life together, even if they may seem mundane or trivial.
They don’t blow hot and cold and keep you guessing about which version of them is going to turn up (or if they are going to turn up at all).
So next time your partner comes home from work dead on 5.30 PM and starts prepping the kids’ dinner, just like he does every night, or when your mum calls you like clockwork on Sunday at 4 PM for her weekly check-in, don’t bemoan their boring regularity.
See these things as they truly are—little signs of commitment and constancy that tell you, you are loved.
It can be easy to miss the many small and perhaps mundane ways that people show their love.
From time to time, we are all guilty of longing for grand and lavish gestures, and as a result, we take for granted the little things that people do, treating them as things we are owed.
Next time you’re feeling neglected or uncherished, take a few minutes to stop and notice these 9 signs in your life.
And rest assured, if you see them, you are loved, even if you don’t always feel it.