I have never, not once in my entire career, heard someone complain about being over-appreciated and loved up too much.
Feeling loved and appreciated is great and we all probably agree that we are somewhat under-appreciated by our friends, colleagues and loved ones. It's probably true and we are all guilty of taking others somewhat for granted. But there is also something else going on here.
We fail to translate our appreciation and love into a language the other person understands.
What? A foreign language of love? Yes indeed! Probably no one taught you this at school, but different people “speak” different “love languages”. And this is not some new-age nonsense but a notion supported by many years of experience along with some actual data. In fact Gary Chapman the author of Five languages of love, has developed this concept over his lifelong career as couples’ counselor. The notion of five distinct approaches to expressing love and appreciation is further supported by the data gathered from his :love language” questionnaire (more on this a bit further).
So what are the love languages and which one/s do I speak?
The five distinct ways you can show your love and appreciation as identified by Chapman are these:
- Words of affirmation such as complimenting someone or saying “I love you”
- Acts of service such as making dinner or cleaning the dishes
- Receiving gifts (this one is straight forward, but do watch out for giving gifts YOU would like, instead of giving gifts THEY would like)
- Quality time, such as going for a walk and taking the time to sit down and talk about your day
- Physical touch such as holding hands, or a hug and with your partner the obvious more erotic touch is also welcome.
Now, according to Chapman’s theory and supported by results of his questionnaire, people usually have a primary “love language”. A basic way to express and receive love and appreciation. A mother tongue so to speak. We usually have also a second “love language” that we find fairly easy to use. The other three, we are less familiar with. Whichever “love language” you are more familiar with, it is interesting to note that some of us respond better to verbal expressions of love, some of us need a hug, while others will be exhilarated when encountering a clean kitchen sink.
Your primary language of love and appreciation can be vastly different from the love language of your significant other.
Which one is your primary and secondary love language probably depends on your emotional education as delivered by your family, but I strongly believe you can learn to use the other languages fairly easily. They won't be as strong for receiving love and appreciation, but you can learn to use them to express love and appreciation.
So what is your love language? And, more importantly, what is your loved one's love language?
Now, if your primary love languages are the same as your loved ones’, you are all set. But if you are struggling to find overlap of your and your loved one's’ love language, it's time to start learning to speak a new language! It's certainly worth it. You do want the important people in your life feel your love. And maybe as you learn the others language, you will find you are starting to feel more loved and appreciated yourself. Also, note that this concept can be generalized to any close relationships, not just with your partner, but with your family, friends, and colleagues too!
I hope you find that this simple notion can make your relationships fuller of love and appreciation. I would love to hear your stories, so don't hesitate and share them in the comments section below.
Lots of love,