Musings: My Love Language

1:51 PM

I was embarrassed by my love language.
I was, but in all honesty, still slightly am. I know I shouldn't be, but it makes me feel like a materialistic brat. Which we all know is only part of the time ;)

Are you familiar with The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.? It has been popularized over the decades as a way to help relationships. My first real interaction with it was when the Bestest and her ex Boo were reading it. She raved about the book and ever since then it was in the back of my mind.

J and I read it together last year, literally and figuratively. We read it in spurts and if it wasn't for his insistence on reading it fully, I might have given up.

It took me forever to realize why I didn't want to finish it. It was because I was embarrassed by my love language, but after my discovery and putting some serious thought into it, I realized I have no reason to be.

It also taught me that I love others in my own love language and not theirs. I think that is the whole point to the book, so I guess it helped out tremendously. It is still and will always be a work in progress to learn to love someone else in their own LL (love language, from here on out) and not get wrapped up in how I'm used to loving someone.

Let's rewind a bit, especially if you aren't familiar with the book. It's been awhile since I've read it, but here are the 5 Love Languages, listed as they are described in the book:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Acts of Service
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch

I will say that I don't think anyone fits into one of the five languages fully. I think there are small parts of each LL that we can categorize ourselves in. However, for this to be effective you need to be really honest with yourself. You need to really read what is written and analyze yourself from that perspective, which I had a hard time doing at first. Also, I think it is important to focus on your main LL, unless is pretty obvious you are split evenly or fairly evenly between two or three (which is pushing it to me).

I appreciate words of affirmation, but it isn't my LL.
I agree that actions do speak louder to words, this may be another LL.
Yes, now this is my love language.
I appreciate some undivided attention, but not too much, so not my LL.
Touch is important, but not my LL.

There are things within each LL that I could agree with and some that don't fit what I need in the form of a LL. I think this is normal, but you need to do is really focus on what makes you feel loved, if it's one then cool, if it's more then cool too. But understanding which LL you fit into, will help you ultimately, but also your partner as well. I can see how someone couldn't figure this out right away. I think there are a few helpful ways to figure it out - How do you love others or what do you complain about in your significant other? Those may be indicators that you are projecting your LL on to your partner and may help you realize what your LL is.

Receiving gifts -- For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.

I cringed when I saw the slightest bit of correlation between this LL and myself. My mind immediately went to 'greedy' and 'materialistic'. It hit the surface of the meaning of this LL, but I didn't take the time to look at myself wholeheartedly, the reason behind this or how to use this information to my advantage. I focused on condemning myself for being in a LL that I thought was selfish and something I didn't want to be -- which is also a huge reason I didn't take finishing the book seriously, I was embarrassed.

Hindsight, that ugly lady! I've had plenty of time to embrace my LL and also learn about myself and how I love, thanks to this book. I think this all stems from my parents, mostly my Mom (because I don't think Poppa Bear did much of the leg work), who took the time, money, and consideration to give us gifts for every holiday and on random occasions -- Valentine's day at our door when we woke up to Easter baskets from the East bunny. There are plenty of other examples, but because I was shown that tokens of gifts were one way how our parents showed us they loved us. Thus, this became my LL, this is how my "love bucket would become full." My parents went out of their way to leave us notes, in lunches or around, and even though these are free, they are still gifts. Gifts of their written word, their time, their extra energy given to us in ways they couldn't with their time -- since they both worked full time.

I hope this doesn't come across as I 'blame' them, but rather I understand why I love to give gifts as a way to show my love. From what I was shown, I was able to create a love for gifting others, with emphasis on the gift and card selection to it's presentation. All the while I was showing my love by giving gifts, I was loving people the way I wanted to be loved. Such a huge realization to understand, so many years later.

I mean, who doesn't love a gift right? But knowing this about myself means that someone who loves me must also understand this. Just as I have to understand their LL(s). For me, a simple note is a perfect gift. Of course, flowers and a blue box with a white ribbon are always welcomed, cost is not of importance. Which is also why I think my other LL is Acts of Service. I put importance on the action, rather than words (although I enjoy blogging and card writing, weird, huh?!?)! The action behind something shows character, thought, and consideration in my eyes. Words are not hollow, but actions speak volumes.

I thought I had a good grasp on myself, but learning about my LL brought to light another dynamic to my personality and me as a person. I am grateful J convinced me to finish the book and take it seriously. I'm grateful I was able to take the time to understand what it all meant and try to use it as a tool, rather than scold myself. Just because this is my LL, doesn't mean that I only feel loved by receiving a fancy gift (which come on, is what you think of immediately when you read it). Putting emphasis on the cost or type of gift is not what it is about. Its so much more than that and I need to remember that, especially when I'm trying to love someone else. Others don't necessarily care about a cute, small gift I thought of when I saw it and bought it for them. Yes, most will appreciate at it for its face vale as a small gift, but it would have much more meaning if it was their LL. They could (potentially) see it as a trinket, but really be craving my time or affection -- whatever their LL is.

I think that was my second biggest revelation, I need to work on not gifting others so much. Or least feeling disappointed when their excitement in receiving a gift seems sub par to my expectation. If they don't value my LL as their own, then it won't have the intrinsic value as it does for me. This was hard to swallow, since I find myself doing it all the time for everyone in my life - friends, family, J, L, everyone! I guess it will save me some money too ;) I will never stop sending handwritten cards, that is one gift that I treasure and won't let go of.

You may think it's hokey (shoot, I did), but in the end I ended up learning a lot about myself. It ended up being a tool for growth for myself and for those who mean something to me. I am learning how to love according to LLs and more importantly, why it is effective to love someone that way.

Have you read The 5 Love Languages? Was it easy for you to figure out which LL belonged to you? I'm honestly interested in any feedback from anyone who reads this.

I'm not embarrassed anymore, just learning to love accordingly...

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  1. I totally understand this love language. My top two love languages are Quality Time and Receiving Gifts. My mom and dad did very similar things while I was growing up and always took the time to show me love by leaving little gifts that showed they were thinking of me. There is nothing wrong with this love language at all, but I completely understand how the first initial reaction could be embarrassment. I felt a very similar way at first too. My husband and I often discuss these love styles as a reminder how we can meet each others needs. Great book!!

    1. It's nice to know there are others out there. We have been referencing them a lot lately too. We also kind of jokingly ask about each others 'love bucket' but there is also sincerity when we ask one another as well. Any other recommendations on books to read similar to this one? xoxo, ganeeban

  2. This book didn't do much for me. I think if someone is really into you they do a ton of all 5 Love Languages. But, maybe I have high standards? I really liked the book "His Needs, Her Needs: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage." That really gave me some A-HA moments. ERS

    1. I can totally see how this couldn't be for some people. I think I had to adjust my mindset to relate to it and really get into it. I think everyone has some of all 5 LL, but I think we can relate most to one or two of them. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have to take a look at that! xoxo, ganeeban

  3. Nah.... Unless you do Love Languages One through Four, you won't even reach Five. But, I'm pretty romantic. ERS

  4. After reading this I took the test and got words of Affirmation. I haven't read the book and probably won't but now I asked my husband to take the test just to know.

    Glad you are learning to go with your LL. I can really relate to you on the gifts because my mom is really into celebrating and gift giving. I recently still received a Valentines card and gift card from her. And for Christmas we always go overboard on presents because we love to give to all of our family and my mom and Grandma always made it to be such a wonderful time for us. My husband makes fun of us but I don't care. I've been keeping it up for Matix and will do so whenever I have children. That said embrace it!

    1. Yup, exactly. It took me awhile to embrace it, but just like everything else, I've chosen to "lean in". Isn't it interesting to find out which LL is yours?!? I have the book, if you ever decide you'd like to read it. Matix is lucky to have you as his Ninang! Xoxo, ganeeban


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