[Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar]
It's easy to go through life wondering if you are truly loved and appreciated. The “everydayness” of daily life becomes dragging. Often when we work hard for our families we can become drained and not feel appreciated. This can lead to tension in our homes and potentially conflict, but could it be that we are just not seeing what is in front of us?
If we take the time to consider the people in our lives and the things that they do, we are able to easily identify the ways in which they give and receive love.
When my children were smaller, during a time when I was looking for ways to improve my personal relationships, I was given a book to read called, “The Five Love Languages”, by Garry D. Chapman. What intrigued me was the concept that we all feel love and give love in different ways, which is influenced by our own experiences (usually learned in childhood) and also our own personalities.
The simplest way to explain this is by visualising the love we have inside of us as being like a tank. When we feel loved the tank is full and when we give love it empties. If we are giving love but not receiving it, our tank empties and does not refill until we feel like we are “running on empty”. Lack of communication, even in people who express love through the same method, can cause conflict or misaligned intentions.
I decided to test the principles with my children. I studied their behaviours and found that Child 1 often cuddled and told me that she loved me, actively seeking praise and affection through touch and cuddling. If she was in trouble she would not be able to settle until she was cuddled again and forgiven for her actions. Child 2 was my helper and often expressed how much he loved me whilst I was doing chores or household things that benefited him. Child 3 loved to cuddle and kiss but would ask me to stop and spend time doing activities with her or make gifts of drawings, flowers and trinkets.
I asked them directly, “What do we (dad and I) do to make you feel most like we love you?” Their responses very much reflected their actions and all were very sure of their own answers, despite their siblings responses seeming almost absurd to each other.
Child 1: “ When you cuddle and kiss me and tell me that you love me”
Child 2: “ When you clean my room and cook dinner”
Child 3: “ When you play with me and read books to me”
This gave me cause to look at the other important relationships in my life, i.e., my partner, my parents, my siblings and close friends. I was astounded by what I found!!!
If we take the time to consider the people in our lives and the things that they do, we are able to easily identify the ways in which they give and receive love. This also makes it easier to identify what is happening at times when they seem upset or dissatisfied, for reasons that are not apparent to us.
The Five Languages:
- Acts of Service.
This is usually the daily things - chores, running errands, taking care of household stuff, helping out in working bees, moving house, etc. People whose primary language is this, are often referred to as having a “servants heart”.
- Physical Touch.
The obvious ones here are cuddling and kissing. This can also include things such as a touch on the arm or shoulder, an arm around the middle, holding hands, a little pat, and stroking of ones face or hair.
- Quality Time.
This may show through in just wanting to be involved in whatever you are doing. Examples include, someone who just wants to sit with you while you are engaged in an activity, wants to go with you to do otherwise boring activities, or often requests that you stop what you are doing to 'do something' with them.
- Gifts Giving and Receiving.
This can be everyday things, not just expensive store bought things, but flowers picked from the garden, a shell, a pretty rock, a drawing, or craft item. It could even be a small chocolate when going to the corner store.
- Words of Praise.
This is when you say nice things and tell people things they like to hear. Examples are, I love you, well done, good girl/boy, you look nice/good/beautiful/, and thank you.
As there are five languages, we need to consider that people are not just one language, but a mix of all five in varying degrees. The most dominant traits are Primary 1 & 2, then Secondary 3, 4 & 5. As to what order they are in, is as individual as we are people. When we look closer, we can start to see these languages in each other and perhaps open up our communication to better our relationships.
Do you recognise all the love you are giving and receiving in your life?
Thanks for checking this out!
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