It’s been a little while since we last “met” due to the five Wednesdays we had in August, but we are back.
Self-awareness was the topic of the previous post and I mentioned that the post was the start of a sequence of post on the same topic. In that same vein, I would like to share some insights on The Five Love Languages.
Granted, you would be forgiven if you thought “What does “love” have to do with self-development?” It may not immediately strike you as a conducive area, but give me a moment, please “read” me out!
Dr Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages speaks about how as human beings we all have “dialects of love” and “hear” or experience love in different ways. For some of us we may have joint scores, or simply our top three.
One thing I do know is that whenever clients have done the test they come back ecstatic, very often with statements like “Ohhhhhh that makes sooo much sense. That’s why that relationship didn’t work out!” Or now I understand how I can help people to love me better and also how I can love myself better.
In terms of self-awareness, when we understand how we hear love it will enhance our abilities to understands ourselves and also give us tools on how to teach people how to communicate in a manner that we understand.
According to Dr Chapman’s findings on his website, the five love languages and their explanations are as follows:
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
In Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.
Acts of Service
Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.
Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else’s love and affection for you.
A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.
It’s all very intriguing isn’t it? I’m sure you would have seen yourself in more than one of these. Personally, once I became educated on the topic I became skilled in identifying the languages of others over a period of time and interaction. What I found is that not only has it helped me in relationships with friends and family, but it has also added to my interpersonal skills with acquaintances and clients who I work with.
Give the test a try and also train yourself to become mindful when you interact with friends, family and colleagues. You’ll be surprised with what you begin to notice! Here is a link to Dr Gary Chapman’s website for you to take the test for free!
Have an incredible rest of the week and let this be a week of raised self-awareness!