What I love about the 5 love languages is that they offer us an opportunity to deepen our awareness of how we perceive and show our love to the people we care about in our lives.
The 5 Love Languages is a book written by Dr. Gary Chapman, an intimacy expert. They were written to help us explore how we express and receive love, and offer an opportunity to better understand ourselves and our loved ones so that we can connect to one another in a meaningful way.
The love languages are: physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, and acts of service. We each have a a love language that works best for how we are wired to receive love. This is so important because many of us feel lonely or unloved throughout our lives and our relationships. As we learn more about how we can best receive love, it creates space for our relationships to blossom and to fill a much needed space within with warmth, comfort, and of course, love.
The implicit belief of “I’m unloveable” comes up a lot when I’m working with clients. It is a very common false belief often held by those of us who experienced early childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect. It is an outdated belief that leads to feelings of loneliness and sadness, and all too often down a road of self medicating with drugs and alcohol.
I love talking about this with clients one on one or in the groups that I run because it’s such an exciting moment when we realize that we all perceive and give love differently. It offers space for our minds to begin to update that false belief as well as strengthen our relationship with the people we care most about in our lives.
When I lived in California and offered my Inner Peace at SOBA Recovery Center, we would discuss our love languages and many of the men in the group found that their top love language was touch. We were able to openly discuss the challenge that men face where platonic touch is important and powerful in helping men feel safe and loved, yet platonic touch is also such cultural taboo for men in our society. Even little boys stop wanting their mother’s hugs and touch as they leave for school in the morning. An excellent article on the subject can be found HERE.
I remember my aha moment when I first read about the love languages a few years ago from the suggestion of my mentor. It completely changed many of my relationships. What I realized is that I value quality time first and foremost, which means that when I feel most loved when someone truly shows up and is fully present when we are together. Which also makes sense, as I love deep conversation and that’s an integral part of the experience. Next, I feel loved by physical touch. When my husband and I are talking and he reaches out to hold my hand the feeling of love registers on a subconscious level and it feels wonderful.
I often show love to others in the same way, through spending time together and offering hugs along the way. In my own work, healing touch, a type of energy healing, serves as a professional way to provide gentle touch to promote healing by creating space within for peace and connection to our higher selves.
At work I often show love to my colleagues through acts of service, helping provide a resource, cover a group, or whatever is needed in that moment.
My point in telling you this all is to illustrate that we show and perceive love differently in the different situations in our lives. And we all show and perceive them differently. My best friend loves to show her love by giving gifts, which is a love language I never think about, I hardly think to buy a gift for my husband on his birthday because it’s simply not how I show love. Lucky for me it’s not his love language either, but if it was I would want to be more mindful and show him love in the way that he can feel it best. In that sense, it’s a good idea to learn not only our own love language but the languages of those around us.
I would love to hear about your thoughts and what you find out about yourself, send me an email or post below.