This morning I was reminded of such a helpful tool I thought it only fair to share. As a therapist, you might think I’m quite good at understanding how other people feel. In some ways that is true (thank goodness you say), but in other ways, I still struggle to realise that people don’t feel the same as me in many situations.
Like every morning getting out of the house is a massive battle. Any ability to listen, let alone compute, on Poppi’s behalf is well and truly lost. I find I go into nag, nag, nag mode and the whole exercise becomes stressful and far from enjoyable. Today, I had an epiphany! “Lightning has struck my brain” (10 points for the first person to recognise what film that quote is from!).
In our third year of marriage Daf and I read a book called The Love Languages. Once you cut through all the American (sorry Americans) imagery, the underlying message is pivotal in understanding how relationships work. Do you ever feel you go out of your way to show someone love and then it is not received as you would like? Or do you ever feel your kid/partner/spouse is always trying to give you things and all you really want is for them to say they love you? Gary Chapman, the author, suggests there are five ways to give and receive love and we are not necessarily the same as those closet to us. That means, technically, we have to learn to speak another language in order to show love in the way our loved one understands it. The different languages Chapman suggests are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
This morning, Poppi and I discovered this about each other. I’m an acts of service (i.e. help around the house) and time kinda girl and she is a gifts and hugs kinda girl. She is always making me little cards (which is very sweet) but to me, I don’t read that as love. As she started to understand that bringing her bowl into the kitchen after breakfast and putting her shoes on the first time I ask shows she loves me she began to get how she can show me love in ways that make me feel loved. I also started to understand that a hug to encourage her to put her shoes on helps too! And today I have made her a little card.