Sunday, December 14, 2014

How do you give and receive love?

We are almost to the midway mark into December.  How are you doing?  Are you relaxed?  Open to what comes your way?  Ready to be present with those you love and will spend time with during the upcoming celebrations?  Or are you stressing?  Most of us are in various stages of stress at this time and if you are like me, I am aware of the approaching deadlines for shipping my family something to let them know I am thinking of them. 

Seems the more we get busy and start stressing, the more we put aside our awareness of how we are feeling, how we feel love, and what is really important to us.  We table all our inner needs and drop into focusing on the mass of outer needs calling at us right now.   I am pretty sure that when we table our needs, they build up and begin to out weigh the happiness and joy surrounding us.  We get buried and become more out of touch with ourselves… we go into overwhelm.

Here is an unsettling concept… What if you are on track, managing your overwhelm and putting your head down and “making” the holidays happen, and it is making your relationships worse because those around you need a different form of love from you?  What if all your task mastering and acts of service miss the mark completely?

I want to share a very reliable tool for how to honor yourself, your loved ones, and pay attention to what we all truly need over this holiday, and everyday moving forward from this December.   There is a book by Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages.  This book has a simple, beautiful way to explore how you feel love and how you give love.    Although this book has been around for the last 10 years and some of us have opinions on whether it is hokey or not, or too simplistic, I am asking you to give it a try.  If you allow yourself time to explore and prioritize how you feel  and give love, I can promise you, it will awaken a beautiful way for you to connect to yourself and to those you love.

Per Chapman, there are 5 ways we know love.
  •  Words of Affirmation
  •  Quality Time Together
  •  Receiving Gifts
  •  Acts of Service
  •  Physical Touch

We all have one primary way of knowing we are loved, feeling love, and giving love. and we each prioritize the remaining four in different orders.  (See more on the printout card below)

A couple of years ago, my partner Ted and I took this list, read the descriptions, and wrote the five languages out in the order of importance for ourselves.  Then we shared our lists with each other.  We both had the same primary choice, our second and third were in different order, yet our fourth and fifth we exactly the same.  Made sense to both of us.  We understand how important our top two or three languages are to our relationship and we pay attention to how we cultivate love and help it continue to grow between us. 

Taking this a step further, when we can step outside our core relationships and move to explore these five forms of love with our children, our aging parents, our friends and extended family, we create a path to giving and receiving love beyond our partners.  It is a guide to how to create the vibration of love with anyone…once we know how love is perceived by another…you meet them in a way they can feel it.  Love is that easy.

What if you think you are being loving and you are off?  For example, what if your primary form of love is acts of service and you are running around doing–giving-expecting acts of service for everyone around you.  What if their primary form of feeling love is in quality time together and you are busy hustling around “making” the holidays wonderful?  Imagine how hurt both of you can feel when the rush of this holiday chaos takes over?  You are giving and giving, and your partner is waiting and waiting for some love.  These hurt feelings can start to take over until they are simmering just under the surface and the whole idea of a beautiful gathering becomes an event to endure, because we don’t feel the love.

We all need love.  We all want to know we are loved.  Knowing what is most important to you can provide a level of freedom to these next couple of weeks of holiday chaos.  How?  When you take the time to discover what means the most to you, you then have the ability to choose.  You can choose to tell the ones you love, and ask for what you truly need.  You can choose to become curious about what the ones you love need and how they prioritize how they feel loved.  And then you can choose to give them love in the form they can receive it.

This week, explore your own love language.  Get curious about the language of the
ones you love.  Maybe even sit down and craft a plan for how all of you can put
something on the schedule that let’s you know you are love. Giving and receiving love IS the gift . . . everything else will fall into place.

Next week we will explore ways to create peace within the chaos.



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