I have written about it and said it many times over the years; love is a verb. Love is not a delicate thing to be handled gently and with care. When you love someone, you should be able to build anything with it. It can be carried high and used as a shield. You should be able to throw it out as a lifeline to save a life, if needed. Love anchors you, stabilizes you, when enduring a tempest in the way nothing else can.
Love is permanent in its changing and love is action, depending on the needs of the person you are with. Love is not passive. It does not sit idly by watching while the person you love struggles. Saying the words, without completing the action is the antithesis of love. It is dishonest and it is lazy.
Actively loving your child teaches them to love themselves because they have been shown they are worthy of the time investment you have given them. Children live in the present and in the moment. It is their entire world and all they have. When you respect that, acknowledge that, give them a solid platform to grow from, then you have actively loved your child. Saying the words mean nothing without the action that supports them.
The same is true with the love between adults. Elapsed time can instil a sense of comfort that disguises the rot of neglect. You can say you love them, but when you do nothing to make their day easier or brighter then your love has no purpose. The words mean less than nothing because they start to become a lie. How can you say you love someone when you don’t show it by your deferential treatment of them, to meet their anticipated and actual needs?