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Speaking Love

Speaking Love

So far we have maintained an emphasis on self-care, especially during the time when there was an enmeshment of space. Our homes had become our workplace, a child’s school and a ‘wannabe’ restaurant all rolled into one. Self-care can be understood as a form of boundary setting, where we need to take control and be assertive to ensure we are spending the time taking care of our own needs. It is good to remember, however, that how we relate to our community is essential in how we maintain our well being. Our community can be restricted to our family, or extended to the locality, our workplace and even the school.

What binds the community together with our well-being is the sense of belonging it gives us. Feeling connected, understood and accepted by others can have a tremendous impact on our resilience. When met with uncertainty and unforeseen circumstances, one of the greatest influences in the way we cope is the way we relate to others and ourselves. One way we can look at this is in the form of recognising and understanding our own love language and responding to that of others in our lives.

What are Love Languages?

Quality Time: Spending focussed time with others helps provide a comfortable space to understand oneself or another by engaging in activities or conversations together, finding common values and building trust. Quality time does not necessarily require going somewhere special, whether online or a nurturing time spent with children at home, it is the shared meaning of the time spent with oneself or others that makes this a powerful love language.

Words of Affirmation: People with this as their primary love language understand love and care through written or spoken shows of affection. They may also demonstrate love by frequent positive affirmations of what the other person means to them, such as letting others know how much they are loved, appreciated and valued. This also includes words of encouragement and verbal assurance.

Acts of Service: Beyond carrying out tasks for others, this is interpreted by those receiving or expressing as a sign of deep understanding and therefore, love. One may show love by doing the dishes even though it was not their night, or bringing home dinner on a night when you feel really tired and didn’t want to cook. It could be just doing something positive for you that you didn’t ask for but they felt like they wanted to do it for you.

Receiving Gifts: It is important to note that this love language speaks not in mere lavishness or cost, but in the thought that goes behind a gift. It is the idea that a person likes to receive things that have been thought about and given with love. A person who likes to receive gifts will also like to express their love by giving gifts. A gift can range from a flower they plucked from the road to even a book they felt another would enjoy.

Physical Touch: If someone’s love language is physical touch, they enjoy the ‘feel-good hormones’ our body releases like dopamine, serotonin or oxytocin. Physical touch is a non-verbal love language people use to let others know that they are cherished. It is not restricted to the physical sensation but the empathetic understanding and acceptance that is communicated through the touch.

Identifying ways we express our affection towards others and receive love can be helpful in not only giving others but also ourselves what we need and knowing when to do so. While each of our love languages defer, it is important to recognise it and receive it, even though it may be different from how we express ourselves or like to receive love. This practice involves respecting and communicating our own love language as well as making space for learning to communicate that of others’ around us.

Family activity: Use the separate links to find out your family’s love language.

Quiz for parents, Quiz for children, and Quiz for teens. click here.