By Andre Vidal
We’re all familiar with the modern day Valentine’s trope that consists of chocolates, cards, couples being couple-y and singles being single-y. All to varying degrees of kawaii cuteness or nauseating repugnance depending on the extent of your cynicism.
But whether you loathe Valentine’s Day with all of your being or you’re a total sap for all things romantic – no matter how cliché others might consider them, Valentine’s Day especially – we could all benefit from taking the time to recognize our loved ones.
Although commercially permeated with romance and marinated in sex, the holiday is also a chance to reflect upon all other relationships besides the significant other, be it family, friends, coworkers or simply those who have shown you kindness.
But when it comes to recognizing these people how are we to converse in the language of love if our knowledge of French is limited to oui and non?
Fortunately, Doctor Gary Chapman demystifies the expression of love withThe 5 Love Languages.
Chapman introduces a system that breaks down the various ways in which people feel loved into five fairly simple aspects:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
You may be able to instantly recognize those aspects that are the most applicable to you already. If not, fret not! There’s a brief and simple quiz that might help you better understand these aspects, and how you feel love and appreciation.
For instance, I personally respond far better to spending quality time with someone than any other love language. This means that not only do I feel loved when someone spends time with me but it’s how I naturally tend to express my love for others.
Importantly though, you will observe that different people in your life demonstrate and respond to love in different ways. Rather than keep your love language to yourself, share this information with those whom you are close and maybe even take the time to consider how they might feel love. Rather than express your love for those around you through your conventional means you might consider customizing your expression to the individual.
So this Valentine’s Day I am embarking upon a quest to acknowledge all of my loved ones – and I invite you to join me!
I, like everyone, am guilty of often neglecting my loved ones at times. Especially my family – given that they reside in New Zealand, half a world away! This year though, Valentine’s Day has reminded me of the importance of recognizing those who are most important to me.
Heading my list is my dear Mum; she gets a Skype call featuring plenty words of affirmation and long-distance hugs.
Unfortunately I am not entirely able to share quality time with Dad due to a separation spanning the Pacific Ocean, however, while making that call to Mum I’ll have her put him on the call and proceed to launch a barrage of words of affirmation at him.
To my sister, a text stating that she’ll receive a gift in the mail sometime in the near future (although that may not actually be a reality until a little closer to her birthday – but she doesn’t need to know that!)
Finally, the remainder, shall be certain to receive quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and gifts by way of delivered baked goods (my first-time making macarons – hopefully they will make their recipient feel loved and not violently ill).
And there’s even more to it than just feeling good about myself you say?!
Not only do you get that nice, warm fuzzy feeling inside as a byproduct of your freely expressed love – you know, the kind that feels a little like you just ate a fluffy cloud, only without the inevitable bloating – but it will also make you healthier! That’s right, expression of positive feelings for others through words or actions can lower stress hormones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and result in a stronger immune system, amongst other results!
And that’s not to mention the benefits you might see in the strength of your relationships!
So if you can’t achieve it in person, pick up the phone and make a call, or even just send a text! Spread the love!
Let us know what your love language is in the comments below!
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Image Sources: 5lovelanguages.com, focusforwardcc.com, Andre Vidal