Have you ever had a difficult conversation with a loved one where it felt like you were speaking two different languages? How did that feel? I imagine it may have been frustrating or even hurtful. Language serves a basis of understanding, connection, and appreciation and when these things exist, compassion, appreciation, and love, flow with ease. I can’t say I’m perfect, I’ve been involved in plenty of conversations or disagreements where communication was lacking.
Dr. Gary Chapman developed what is referred to as The 5 Love languages, which explains the ways in which we express and like to receive love. The 5 Love Languages include:
• Words of Affirmation: “valuing verbal and written acknowledgments of affection”.
• Quality Time: Unbroken, consistent, attentive, conversation and time spent together.
• Physical Touch: Gaining reassurance and connection through Non-verbal physical affection; hugs, holding hands, cuddling, massages, a reassuring hand on the back, massage, etc…
• Acts of Service: When someone does something for you goes out of their way to make your life easier.
• Receiving Gifts: “visual symbols of love”, although not necessarily bought.
Visit www.5lovelanguages.com to discover your love language.
Love languages can be applied to each of your relationships, even with your children. Believe it or not, Children nonverbally communicate what their love languages are (more on this subject at a later time), and it’s up to adults to care enough to listen.
When we understand what our, and our loved one’s love languages are, there is less room for misunderstanding and increased opportunities for deepened connection.
Ever said to a loved one, “you just don’t understand me.”? For example, if you have a habit of using harsh language, yelling or harsh unnecessary criticism towards your partner who has a Words of Affirmation love language, they may feel disconnected or even betrayed. Or, if your top love language is Receiving Gifts, you may be doing your best to show your partner that you appreciate them by buying and making them gifts. However, if their top love language is Quality time, your efforts may not feel as though they are appreciated.
Along with the knowledge of what your love language is, willingness and flexibility are also required. This is often the most difficult part. You and your partner may not have the same love language, therefore it will take patience, commitment, and willingness to step out of your comfort zone to serve each other in a way that makes sense to each of you.
We usually think of love languages in relation to being in a romantic relationship, however, we can apply this knowledge to how we choose to love ourselves. I often suggest to my clients to learn what their love languages are and offer these acts of love to themselves. If your Love Language is Receiving Gift, consider treating yourself from time to time to something special, create something fun or meaningful by hand, invest in your interests or hobbies.
Treat yo self!
[Ife is a Pasadena Native, currently working as a mental health therapist providing therapy to individuals, ages 17-elder adults. She works from a holistic perspective and is passionate about supporting people with their health through food, nutrition, and sound healing.]