When in a loving relationship, or even with your friends or parents, often arises misunderstanding and disappointment. Most of this comes from the understanding one others' actions only from-out our own frame.
Let me explain briefly:
Whenever we give love we do that in a certain way. It may be different for you than for me. So let's say you give love by helping your friend out cleaning his home because he is not feeling well. This is something that feels natural, nurturing and loving for you to do so because your intention is to love.
Let's say this friend would always brings you a gift whenever he returned from a little trip. That is his way of telling you, 'I have been thinking about you and you mean something to me'. The gifts represents his love.
So after a while you start to feel like your friend isn't so much there for you. You blame him for not making time for you, not to help you whenever you really need it. While your friend actually feels really rejected in this very moment. Simply because your friend just recently brought you back this amazing little token that had a very special meaning to him and gave it to you.
If you would be to zoom out of this situation and approach both people seperatly, you will soon discover both have a different way of expressing their love. Gary Chapman wrote a book about this which is called 'The five love languages'. To me this is the book that started shaping my relationships the way the are at this very moment; loving, compassionate, understanding.
What are the five love languages?
In his book he explains 5 different types of expressing and receiving love. He explains you probably recognize a little bit in everything but when paying attention, you will discover that there is one primary to the others. I'll shortly introduce them to you, to give you some context.
Quality time Is where you enjoy the non-interrupted time with a close friend/familymember/spouse. You find it very important someone really makes the time to listen to your stories. And you feel most appreciated whenever you get to spend time with this person without phone-call's disturbing or him/her also multitasking in the same time. It's all about the in-moment-connection.
Acts of service
This is the type of love that puts deeds first. You feel most happy whenever you get to help someone. Or even someone helping you. You offer your friends to help do the dishes, or you quickly run an errand for your spouse so he/she can relax.
With gifts, the name gives it away pretty easy. This is the kind of love you receive or give while you are sharing your physical memories. This can be bringing a little bottle of wine to a friends night out or bringing back a souvenir from a holiday
Words of affirmation
With words of affirmation you feel mostly loved whenever people share kind words with you. And the other way around. You easily give away compliments, always tell your spouse how nice the food is or whenever people around you recognise the work you put into something.
Then, physical touch. Is the typical lovelanguage that gives confirmation by for example giving a hug. These people most likely are the ones always there to hug it out or maybe as your spouse really puts a very high value on giving a kiss when saying goodbye.
Any of these lovelanguages described above are so much more broad then explained here. It is just to give you a little insight.
Why is learning about love languages important?
To learn about the love languages has made me realise how I give and receive love. But most of all; I started to understand all the people who always made me feel not loved. I simply understood that everyone talks and acts from their own frame of what is love.
Personally, with some people in my direct environment I had a really hard time understanding their love for. They would say they love me, but to me it didn't feel that way. When learning more about this I started making peace with myself, understanding we are all different. And I started exploring expanding my qualities of executing other love languages.
Since quality time is my primary love language, the other day I had a beautiful quality-time-moment with a close friend. Hanging out on our yoga mats in the living room, in front of the Christmas tree. Drinking tea and sharing stories. Until we flowed into deeper questions and got to know each other on a whole different level. 'Wow, I never knew that interested you' 'I never expected you to do something like that'.
What an amazing journey it is to really get to know someone. So today, I want to share with you these topics we talked about. Do you recognize yourself in quality time? And do you have someone who you would like to spend a little bit more real quality time with? Feel free to use these questions. You can go as quick as you want but please note, the proces isn't the goal. So enjoy that moment you're spending. And listen to the great stories that come from it. It's fun, I promise ;).