If you’ve read any of my “monthly resolutions” posts, you know that loving everyone has been on my life to-do list. Showing, acting, speaking, living, being love. As I work on loving everyone, it’s been important to remember that not everyone loves in the same way. I’ve needed to expand my definition and thoughts on “ways to love” because, everyone loves, and likes to be loved, in different ways.
Dr. Gary Chapman found that people show love in five different ways – he calls them “love languages.” So when we are looking for ways to love other people, recognize that it’s okay when other people don’t show their love in a way we might expect. It’s equally important to identify your own love language to communicate more effectively with a certain individual how you like to be loved.
Here are the five love languages and a few ways to give love:
1. Words of Affirmation
For some people, actions actually DON’T speak louder than words – some people need to hear out loud they are loved and why. If this is your love language, you enjoy receiving genuine compliments, while insecurities might stem from a lack of encouragement or approval. Certain people want love to be shown through positive verbal reinforcement – and need to consistently hear that they are special, loved and valued.
How to show love: “I love you!”, “You’re doing awesome.”, “Thank you for being you” , “I appreciate you because ______”
2. Quality Time
Some people simply spending time doing things with the people they love. If quality time is your primary love language, you enjoy spending time with someone and doing something you both enjoy. This could be trips, dinners or just simple times sitting down and enjoying coffee together. Insecurities might stem from postponed dates, lack of undivided attention or the failure to listen.
How to love: Coffee dates, one-on-one time with someone, roadtrips with friends, shopping together, going on a walk
3. Receiving Gifts
Certain people respond to tangible ways love is shown to them – it is not necessarily a superficial or materialistic thing! If receiving gifts is your love language, you appreciate when people go out of their way to give or send you something as a present. Handwritten notes, personalized gifts or special gesture showing that you are special speaks volumes. People like to be shown they are loved, appreciated and valued through gifts often feel rejected over missed birthdays/anniversaries or the absence of everyday gestures.
How to love: Send a random present for no reason/holiday, write handwritten note, surprise someone with a gift
4. Acts of Service
Acts of services means doing things for a loved one. If this is your dominant love language, you feel loved when someone goes out of their way to make make an experience or situation, easier or better for you. Examples could be: picking someone up from the airport, making dinner, taking out the trash or taking care of something that isn’t normally your responsibility. Insecurities can stem from laziness or broken commitments. I’m sure most of us can relate to this love language in different ways – and it’s important to practice this out of genuine feeling rather than duty.
How to love: Make dinner for your friends or significant other, offer to do errands for someone, do dishes without being asked
5. Physical Touch
This means body contact – not necessarily just sex, of course. This love language encompasses all kinds of touch – hugs, kissing, holding hands, a pat on the back, etc. If this is your prime love language, you view physical touch as a way to show excitement, happiness, concern or care. Physical presence is key and insecurity often stems from destructible neglect or abuse.
How to love: Nap together, hold hands, offer to give a back massage/scratch, play with someone’s hair
We often tend to show love the way we like to be loved. Asking your friends, partner or anyone in your life how they like to be loved is important so you know how they best receive and in turn, learn how to love that person! For example, my dad often shows his love for me through acts of service. He would absolutely always go out of his way to do something for me – but doesn’t always say out loud how special I am to him. My mom, on the other hand, shows her love for me by telling me daily how important I am to her. I have friends that just love hanging out and feel special from our time together but other friends who would feel equally satisfied and loved from a random note in the mail from me. It’s really interesting for me to look at the ways people show love and want to be loved – and I want to continue asking people around me what their love language is – so I can be better as loving them individually.
What love language do you speak? I’d love to hear! I feel I’m a bit mixed – but feel loved when people go out of their way to spend time with me and also enjoy words of affirmation. Quality time + encouragement make me feel special and valued!
Enjoy your Monday, xo!