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The Pure Genius of This American Greetings Valentine’s Day Ad Will Have You in Tears

Communication is everything. It is what binds us to loved ones, keeps us connected to those who are far away, and is a critical part of how we express emotion. It is also not easy for everyone. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words how we feel inside, especially for those we care about the most.

Sometimes our words fail us. And sometimes the harder we try to connect with someone, the harder it is to express how we feel. When we do, it means everything. In the latest American Greetings commercial (which highlights real families and real struggles), we see how one card — one word — can make all the difference.

Their #givemeaning campaign highlights the ups and downs of real relationships — real love, real quirks, and sometimes, real miscommunication.

The video starts with an all-too-familiar situation, trying to get your partner to understand where you are coming from.

“You’re not trying to hear me,” the woman says, frustrated by the lack of perceived effort on her partner’s part. “That’s not it, you don’t get it,” she says as he walks out of the room.

“Then what is it?” he asks. “I don’t understand.”

As she slams the door, what she is really trying to say is, “All I want is your love.”

Another scene shows a mom walking into her daughter’s room trying, and failing, to figure out why she is upset. Her child, like every child, responds by saying, “I’m fine.” But what her mom feels is that her daughter doesn’t think she understands her.

And maybe the most heartbreaking scene is when a son makes dinner for his dad.

“Dad, here’s your hot dog,” the son says. His father, unable to communicate, is thinking, “You are the best part of my day.”

It’s impossible to have had a relationship as a lover, partner, child, or parent and not relate to the pain and frustration when you don’t think you aren’t being heard. But when someone does tell you how they feel — how they really feel — it can be magic.

According to an online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of American Greetings, an overwhelming majority of Americans (89%) recognize that good communication is among the most important parts of having a healthy relationship. Specifically, 2 in 5 millennials say they experience difficulty communicating to their mom or dad and 1 in 5 parents say that they have difficulty expressing themselves to their children.

It’s not easy to be vulnerable, to open your heart to someone, and not always know how they will respond. But sometimes holding back can be even more damaging.

The video concludes with parents and partners, obviously at the end of their rope and going through the motions of everyday family life, taking a moment to tell each other how much they appreciate each other.

It doesn’t take much. Communication is hard. But it is so, so worth it.

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