We are surrounded by so many people. People who stay in our lives for long periods of time, those who are briefly an influence on our journeys, and those who come and go but the friendship simply picks up where it left off.
A friend of mine once simplified friendship and love for me; it was so simple. We all think and act differently, and we all show ‘love’ differently, and we all communicate ourselves differently. Understanding how others operate is crucial to our relationships. We often scrutinise people for not acting how we would, or we get upset because they don’t show us love or affection the way we want. But we were all built differently and as always there is more than one route to any destination- its what makes us human- our uniqueness and individuality.
Have you ever stepped back and thought about how you show someone you care? Do you show love through gifts? Through spending quality time together? Through finding solutions to others problems? Which do you value more, tokens of appreciation, displays of physical affection, quality time spent together.
I believe we first have to identify how we want to give and receive love, and how we like to communicate. Once you understand your own needs- it’s easier to ask for what helps you and how you operate. Me, myself I love to show others how important they are through spending time together creating memories and I love to give thoughtful gifts. However, I think to receive love and have good communication I prefer someone taking the time to do things together and physical affection! A hug goes a longgggg way! Yet, I have an abundance of friends who are very different to me. And they all operate differently, and they all show their affection uniquely to them.
I believe we cross paths with people to help us grow, or learn or to simply be happy! There is an art in learning to accept someone. Just because they do it differently or respond differently to you doesn’t make them wrong- it’s just their perception and reaction to something. You can also never change someone- but you can simply control yourself. You have a choice- accepting that person for all their ways or you can decide it’s too much for you and to let them go.
Life is about finding your people. The people who relate best to you, the people who aren’t perfect but you accept them for their style and choices, and they choose you. Find those who have the imperfections that you decide you can handle- if you accept someone- you accept them for all that they are.
The ‘Love Languages’ – Dr Gary Chapman
My words above are based on the readings of Dr Gary Chapman. As with everything I say throughout my blogs they will either resonate with you or not- I read his methodology and it resonated with me, it provoked thinking into myself but also those around me.
Dr Chapman believes we all give and receive love in 5 different ways, known as Love Languages:
- Words of affirmation
When words of affirmation is your love language, words build you up. You thrive on spoken affection, praise, encouragement, and compliments. Harsh words and criticism can bother you for a long time.
- Acts of Service
Anything that your partner does willingly to ease your workload is a sign of love to you. You feel cared for when your partner vacuums before you get to it or makes you breakfast as a surprise. On the other hand, broken promises or laziness can make you feel unimportant.
- Receiving gifts
When you speak this love language, a thoughtful gift shows to you that you are special. In contrast, generic gifts and forgotten special events have the opposite effect. This love language isn’t necessarily materialistic – it could be as simple as receiving your favourite snack after a bad day.
- Quality time
To you, nothing says you’re loved like undivided attention. When your partner is truly present (and not looking at their phone), it makes you feel important. Failure to actively listen or long periods without one-on-one time can make you feel unloved.
- Physical touch
Holding hands, kisses, hugs, and other touches are your preferred way to show and receive love. Appropriate touches convey warmth and safety, while physical neglect can drive a wedge between you and your partner.
Most of us have one or two preferred love languages, often different than our partners or our friends and family. It is good to understand your own needs and ways of communication to help the relationships and friendships you have with others. Good communication and expressing your feelings is usually paramount to healthy relationships with others.