A Better Way to Say, “I Miss You”

There is a way to be together even when you’re far apart.

There was a time in my life when I was separated from someone I loved because he had to do military duty in Iraq. We were able to text and send letters and occasionally we even spoke on the phone. But even so, inevitably we said, “I miss you.”

I began to notice that “I miss you” left me feeling lonely and helpless. At first, without realizing it, I tried to block out the yearning and pining that made my heart ache and kept me up at night. Eventually I became aware that I was tensing my muscles so I wouldn’t cry. And eating all those pints of ice cream was just an attempt to stave off loneliness with sugar.

As a psychotherapist, I knew the best thing to do was to go ahead and feel my feelings without censorship. So I consciously gave myself permission to experience the physical deprivation of my boyfriend’s presence.

At first the feelings intensified, sometimes as a deep ache, other times almost unbearably stabbing … and then they would recede. The end of this cycle bore fruit. I felt relieved, my body relaxed, it became easier to sleep at night.

And then, something inside said, “Make a ‘miss’ list.”


Again, the inside voice said, “Make a ‘miss’ list. Be specific!”

There was nothing to lose, so I sat down at the computer, placed my fingers on the keyboard, closed my eyes, and out popped:

I miss your smile.

I miss your laugh.

I miss seeing your face.

I miss just driving around in the car with you.

I miss holding hands.

I miss doing your laundry.

I miss you running errands for me.

I miss sharing meals together.

I miss being close, being able to hug.

I miss bicycling together.

Strangely, it felt good to review in detail ordinary things that I loved doing together. I breathed in and out, feeling the sweetness of what we had when we were together.

The inside voice piped up again, “Now make a wish list.” And again, my response was a dull-witted, “What?”

The inner voice patiently explained, “Turn your ‘miss list’ into a ‘wish list.’” My hands understood before I did. Some speedy typing ensued and a second list now read like this:

I wish I could see your smiling face right now.

I wish I could see you burst out laughing.

I wish we were driving in the car right now.

I wish we were doing chores together.

I wish we were on the beach together.

I wish we were eating dinner in the kitchen.

I wish we were holding hands and could hug each other.

I wish we were bicycling together.

I had turned “miss” into “wish.”

Then inspiration struck full force and I was moved to “translate” again, this time into an “I am” list:

I am seeing you smiling at me right now.

I am hearing you laugh out loud with happiness that you’re back home.

I am feeling my heart expand with the pleasure your laugh gives me.

I am seeing us driving around in the car together, singing along to the radio.

I am feeling happy and there’s a smile on my face as I think about us driving and singing!

I am feeling close to you, heart to heart, no matter how many miles are between us.

I had gone from “I miss” to “I wish” to “I am.” When we speak in the present tense, using the words “I am,” we activate the most powerful force within us — our Spiritual Being. “I am” ignites a creative power within ourselves that is tremendously healing and nurturing.

When we use this technique of translation we learn to soothe ourselves and maintain connection with our loved ones, no matter where they are. A Course in Miracles tells us, “Nothing you can do can change Eternal Love.”

On a human level, we can believe that because someone is not physically with us that we are deprived of their company. But when we become aware that love is eternal, then whether someone is in front of us or seemingly distant, the love lives forever in our hearts.

So if you’re missing someone, and would like to feel whole rather than split apart, start with the genuine feeling of “I miss you” and make a list. Then translate your list into what you wish.

Next, choose to be in the present moment with “I am” sentence constructions. Stay connected with the person you miss and actually build your relationship through specific examples of what you love about being together.

This positive appreciation actually brings you closer, builds trust and intimacy, and will surprise you with how much easier it is to be parted, whether for a day, a week, or even facing a death.

Love is an eternal bond which can never be broken. Try this better way of saying, “I miss you” and let me know how it goes.

People confide in me. They say they feel safe because I listen with love and without judgment. It is my calling to understand, empathize, nurture and guide. That’s why I became a Gestalt psychotherapist, interfaith minister, and relationship coach.