THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES
Cultivating and tending to a garden requires time and patience, but in the end, your care and nurturing produces a bounty of fruits and vegetables or a landscape of magnificent flowers. As much as sunshine and water play a role in the growth and development of seeds, scientists have proven that nurturing plants in a peaceful, loving setting accelerates the growth process. The same is true for human beings, though somewhat more complex.
Reading through Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, I was surprised how detailed the act of appreciation can be. According to Canfield, there are three different ways the brain assimilates information, and that each of us has a “dominant” type we prefer. “Auditory people need to hear it, visual people need to see it, and kinesthetic people like to feel it. For example, if you give visual feedback to an auditory person, it doesn’t have the same effect as verbal feedback. The auditory person might say, ‘He sends me letters, cards, and emails, but he never takes the time to pick up the phone or walk over here and tell me face-to-face.” (Note to self- This book should be required reading for all couples in serious relationships, parent-child relationships, and work relationships.) This is huge!
While the auditory person prefers to hear praise, visual people react joyfully when they see something tangible like flowers or cards that they can allow to linger around their cubicle at work or on their coffee table at home. The author continues, “Kinesthetic people like to feel the appreciation such as a hug, a handshake, a high five, a pat on the back, a back rub, going for a walk together, going out dancing, or taking time to play a sport together.”
As eye opening as this was for me, the information on the Five Love Languages by relationship counselor Gary Chapman really hit home. The Five Love Languages are: Words of Affirmation (being open and expressive in telling them what you appreciate most), Quality Time (being fully present and engaged when together), Receiving Gifts (showing your appreciation through gifts), Acts of Service (doing something such as watching the kids, working on a project together or breakfast in bed), and Physical Touch (a hug for your spouse, a handshake or a pat on the back at work.) As much as we wish for the fulfillment of all of these languages, Chapman explains we favor one primary language more than the others.
So you might ask how are you suppose to know which type works for which person. Chapman says to observe the person around others by: observing the person’s behavior when they interact with others, listening to what they most often complain about, and paying attention to their requests. Some examples might be, “Give me a hug,” or “Bring me a surprise from your business trip,” or “My kids never call me” or “Remind me again what you love most about me.”
The moral of this story is to practice the “art of appreciation” then sit back and watch your relationships thrive. Ah, come on over here and give me a hug!
Previously published in the Bay City Tribune on Sunday, September 4, 2016.