The Many Forms of Love

I am getting a little sentimental here today. I’ve been pondering all week about my posts, planning what to write, continuing adventures in Australia and New Zealand, a good recipe of course, and then something happened earlier this week that sent a bit of a shock through my system. I had a scare with a loved one, well and that put things into a different perspective. So I’ve been thinking, contemplating and feeling that really we need to love each other more…

There are many kinds of love in this world. Love for a sister or brother, parents, friends, love for your spouse or partner. Romantic love, passionate love, lasting love. Even love for a stranger can exist. Love comes in all different shapes and sizes. It is the essence of who we are and why we exist. Without love there is nothing.

We all express our love in different ways and hope to share it with others. A warm hug can mean so much, or a simple smile. A hand extended in friendship, an ear to listen to our woes, or a loved one performing an act of service, are all demonstrations of this wonderful feeling, this tie that binds us all together.

Yet so often we forget to show our love to others, to express it and let them know that they are cared for. Twice in the past 4 months I have come close to losing someone that I love in my life. Two shocking traumatic, scary experiences that reminded me instantly of how I did not want this person gone from my life. That they were important to me and meant a lot. Thankfully all turned out well and I have had the chance to tell them how much I care for them and appreciate them, which honestly I was doing before, but was I doing it enough?

Often we get so busy with life and activities and other things that are just happening that we just don’t connect with those that are important to us (or not as often). We get stressed and tired and distance ourselves from them because we may be just trying to get through the day, or complete the 20th thing on our list. Our heads are down and we forget to look into the eyes of a loved one and take a minute to smile or hold them close.

I know reminders like these pop up all the time, “Tell the people you love you care about them often, Don’t go to bed mad, etc.” And we all go yes of course I do that. But how often really do we remember? Do we really do it on a regular basis?

I am totally guilty of it to. I know better, and I know my life would be better, my relationships, if I just told people that I loved them and I liked having them around. I also know as human beings it’s hard, we get so stuck in our ‘stuff’ that we just let things like that slide. Hoping that those we love will still be there when we pull our heads up.

Love is a wonderful thing, but it needs to be nurtured, it needs to be tendered and cared for, appreciated and held close to your heart. It cannot be just left to fend for itself, it’ll grow cold, stagnant, or even fade away.

Self love, relationships, friendships, even love for nature and the planet, all need to be nurtured and appreciated. So here’s my challenge to you, look at one place where there is love in your life and decide on one thing you will do to nurture it each day. This could be for you (like I said self love), or for a person (doing something nice for them telling them how much you like something they do), or even nature (deciding to pick up a piece of litter). It does not have to be huge. Make it easy, something you’ll enjoy doing. Then once you’ve done that for awhile, expand to doing other things (cause love expands) and more often. Again only do what is easy, so you might only add one thing at a time.

You could also find a buddy to help you in this challenge (someone you love 🙂 I know often if I am struggling with something or starting something new, when I have the support of someone else doing it with me, it helps, it motivates me, and is always nice to discuss it with someone. (It’ll even strengthen your relationship with them)

So decide what you’d like to do and get started today! Come back and post a comment on what you’ve done and how it has made your life happier and more full of love! Here are some quick ideas to get you started:

Write your spouse a note and put it in their coffee cup to find in the morning

Send a friend a text telling them about a quality you appreciate in them

Pick up litter in your neighborhood

Look at yourself in the mirror and smile (don’t analyze it just smile and appreciate the smile!)

Hold the door for another person

Say ‘Good morning/ afternoon’ to a stranger

Give your kids an extra hug

Tell someone you love them

I’ll start… Thank you to all my wonderful loyal readers out there. I appreciate you very much  and hope that you all have an awesome day! 

The Language of Love

images-24Love makes the world go round, love is a many splendid thing, all you need is love. Love is the foundation of our human existence and the essence of how we relate to each other to create and sustain our world. Yet so many of us are distant from our loved ones, lost or alone, wondering how to create the love we need and connect with those we care about in a loving and successful way.

Everyone has their own way of giving and receiving love. The challenge is, if we are not able to identify what a loved one’s ‘way’ is, we do not know the best way to communicate love to them in a way that they get. Therefore we may be pouring out our hearts per se, and our partner’s/ loved ones are just not getting it. As a result they may feel unloved, though we love them very much.

Dr. Gary Chapman through his books, The Five Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Children teaches us how to figure out what our loved one’s love languages are, so that we can have more successful and happy relationships in our lives, whether it be with our spouses, children or other people we care about.

He identifies and describes clearly and concisely what the 5 love languages are and that when we are able to not only identify our own, but also those of others then we can easily communicate love to others.

The challenge is, your love language, may not be the same as your partner or children, therefore there may be some learning in how to speak your significant others love languages.

In his books, Gary outlines very clearly what each of the love languages are, examples of them in everyday life and ideas and suggestions on how to speak them to others. He describes that though there are 5 main love languages, we all have one primary love language (one that we prefer above all others) and that there are many dialects or ways to speak that love language to another person. Physical touch, for example is one of the love languages, but this does not always mean one kind of touch. For partners it will likely include sex but also involves other kinds of physical intimacy such as holding hands, kisses, foot massage, a soft brush across the cheek, etc. For children, this could mean hugs, kisses, a pat on the back, play wrestling.

The books are well laid out and easy to follow, with an introduction on how to make best use of the books and lots of examples throughout. The books also include a quiz or ‘game’ at the end, each designed for children and adults appropriately to help you figure out what other love languages are (which I found extremely helpful with my oldest son!)

I also found the additional sections in The 5 Love Languages of Children like how to use a child’s love language for discipline and in single parent families to be very interesting and extremely helpful. The discipline aspect is not something that I would have thought of, but after learning how to use it effectively with my children, it makes perfect sense! And truly creates more harmony and easier disciplining in my house.

No one can run on an empty tank, and an empty emotional love tank (as Dr. Chapman calls it) is even worse. I think it is so important with children these days to learn to connect with them and really communicate love. With the growth of technology and reduction of physical connection and time together, we need to make those moments when we are together meaningful, loving, so that when our children leave the house they feel confident that they are loved and cared for and that we as parents have communicated this to them loud and clear! The concepts and techniques is these books make this super easy to do.

I had read Dr. Chapman’s original The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts book many years ago and found it fascinating and a concept that really worked. I have applied it in my experiences with loved ones and have watched the magic happen, how the closeness I was looking for appear simply by communicating love to them in a way that they understood. And I know that when people speak my primary love language of Quality time, I definitely feel loved by them!

So go home tonight, grab a copy of The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts or The 5 Love Languages of Children and start reading and applying these concepts in your life. Not only will you find out a little about yourself you may not have been aware of, but you will learn to create more love in your life, more happiness, and you will be surprised at how absolutely easy it is!

No one can receive too much appropriate unconditional love. I think you’ll agree we’d all like a little more love in our lives and to feel more loved by others, and Dr. Chapman’s books give us easy, simple tools to do just that!

Books have been provided courtesy of Northfield Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favorite bookseller.