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Love to Love You, Baby

Have you ever felt like you were speaking a completely different language when interacting with your significant other (or even BFF/office partner)? Despite adoring each other do you often feel on "different pages" about important things?

You might indeed be speaking a different language, a different LOVE LANGUAGE that is! You see, my fave thing that my partner (or even my friends) do for me is anything that aids me in getting my consistently unending tasks done in a timely and efficient manner with as little interruption as possible. It literally makes my heart sing when someone takes out the trash or picks up something for me or helps me to gain clarity on an idea I'm working on. My partner, on the other hand, prefers to leisurely go about this tasks by himself (though interruptions miraculously do not mess with his flow state), but loves when I give praise for each and every task accomplished. My best friend's most valuable asset in her own words is her time. When she spends any actual amount of face-to-face time with me I know it is not without careful thought and consideration. Personally, when I interact with my favorite people I naturally want to either assist them with their tasks or shower them with small tokens of thoughtful affection because this is what I enjoy. Yet what they value the most from me (in the case of my partner) are kind words and acknowledgments of appreciation or (in the case of my BFF, some valuable time together, especially in nature like we we go kayaking.

This used to create occasional tensions and mismatched feelings in my life until I read about Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages, which are really ways that people like to feel loved and appreciated. They include:

1. Words of Affirmation – expressing affection through spoken words, praise, complements, or appreciation. Someone with this love language will enjoy kind words, love notes, uplifting quotes, or text messages.

2. Quality Time – having another’s undivided attention. Someone with this love language will enjoy their partner being completely focused and present with them, putting down or turning off any electronic devices, making eye contact, and actively listening.

3. Physical Touch – actual physical contact. Someone with this love language will enjoy hand holding, cuddling, hugs, having their arm touched during conversation, etc.

4. Acts of Service – doing nice things for someone. Someone with this love language will enjoy when their partner does tasks for them that helps them out or frees their time like running errands or household chores.

5. Receiving Gifts – giving meaningful tokens of appreciation. Someone with this love language will enjoy small gifts (they do not need to be expensive) that allows them to know their partner thinks of them.

Now being a Hypnotherapist, I couldn't help but compare them to NLP's Presuppositions:

1. Have respect for the other person’s model of the world. (We are all unique and experience the world in different ways. Everyone is individual and has their own special way of being).

2. The map is not the territory. (People respond to their ‘map’ of reality, not to reality itself. How people make sense of the world around them is through their senses and from their own personal experience; this means that each individual’s perception of an event is different).

3. Mind and body form a linked system. (Your mental attitude affects your body and your health and, in turn, how you behave).

4. If what you are doing isn’t working, do something else. (Flexibility is the key to success). Keeping doing what you’ve always done and keep getting the same results.

5. Choice is better than no choice. (Having options can provide more opportunities for achieving results).

6. We are always communicating. (Even when we remain silent, we are communicating. Nonverbal communication can account for a large proportion of a message).

7. The meaning of your communication is the response you get. (While your intention may be clear to you, it is the other person’s interpretation and response that reflects your effectiveness. NLP teaches you the skills and flexibility to ensure that the message you send equals the message they receive).

8. There is no failure, only feedback. (What seemed like failure can be thought of as success that just stopped too soon. With this understanding, we can stop blaming ourselves and others, find solutions and improve the quality of what we do).

9. Behind every behavior there is a positive intention. (When we understand that other people have some positive intention in what they say and do (however annoying and negative it may seem to us), it can be easier to stop getting angry and start to move forward).

10. Anything can be accomplished if the task is broken down into small enough steps. (Achievement becomes easier if activities are manageable; NLP can help you learn how to analyze what needs to be done and find ways to be both efficient and effective).

Just by becoming aware of the way another person enjoys receiving and reciprocating affection, we can begin to mirror and match them to ensure they are feeling valued in their own way. We can also teach them about our desired ways of feeling cared for as well. For instance, I no longer feel annoyed or resentful when my partner announces the next task he's accomplished. Instead, I take some time (so it's not taken from me) to show verbal praise and appreciation. When it comes to holidays, he knows quite well that I don't want a BD surprise, rather I'd prefer to pick some practical things I need done or pick something I might not do for myself. As for my BFF, she has come to accept my little tokens more...she once said I was like a cat bringing her mice, lol, but I also do my best to spend valuable time with her whenever we both are free, and we both find value in our daily morning and evening check-in text messages. So, you can Love to Love You in your own way, and others in their preferred ways as well!

And don't forget, much of communication is nonverbal! So be mindful of body language as you begin exploring LOVE LANGUAGES!

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