Self-esteem part 3: Connecting The Love Languages


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Speaking The Right Language
Lately I had been thinking about my experience at film school, both when I was a student and a facilitator. I spent a lot of time with as many of the students as possible trying to find out what each person’s love language was. The interesting thing was that those that had physical touch had not really given it that much, compared to those with the other languages. I later found out that it had something to do with comfort.

When it came to speaking the native language, people were generally loose cannons because of the level of comfort they had, especially knowing that someone else who was not a native of the country, in  this case South Africa, was able to speak it too, however, when it came to speaking the love language the level of comfort decreased.  Meaning that they were not sure how everyone would respond to their very eager and excited nature to just touch anytime they felt like it! Of course that is a more than reasonable justification.

My languages are Service and Time. Often times those two can be very difficult because having to get people to do stuff for you can be really hard. When the really cool ones are not there to help willingly, you have to deal with the ones that can be reluctant too regularly. That was the challenge I often had, but I managed to handle it quite well. Discovering leverage was a lot of people’s language, that helped spark an idea for getting people to speak my language.

Give and Receive- Find The Balance
After recognizing your language, which could be done either through taking a test or paying close attention to what excites you or frustrates you when someone does or says something to you; the next thing is to find out how you give and receive love. I used to be taught that you receive the same language that you give, so for a long time, I thought that Service was how I gave love seeing that it was how received it. I later found out that Words and Time were how I gave love. That took a very long time to discover. I realized, mostly during moments when someone was sad that I listened well and was very encouraging. I also learned that I was generally uplifting anyways.

Time is a strange one because I seldom do the talking unless it is about the film industry, movies, TV Shows and related things, mainly with someone who is also from or in the industry. However, the way I understand it is that being understanding and listening are key components when it comes to Time. Since I give it (and receive it), that means I listen quite easily, depending on my mood. In essence choosing the right time to go out for coffee, even as a casual thing, matters too.

Living The Languages
On a practical note, is it necessary to go to everyone asking them what their love language is? From what I have seen, I am not so sure that most people even know what their love language is. It is actually one of those questions that need to be really thought about if the person does not know. For me, I say that spending time with the person and just being yourself around them, helps with finding out how they feel loved. Being observant is the whole idea. You do not have to plan girls night out to find out if your friend appreciates your company, or buy them something randomly,  just think carefully at the moments you have received heartfelt gratitude and the events that led to them.

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Words of affirmation- can be a very difficult language to give. How so? You will have to ask yourself where to draw the line. How far is too far? How often do you express complimentary terms before it appears as though something else is happening, such as ulterior motives? How does a man give words to another man without seeming too forward? I think the same can go for woman to man and man to woman. If “words” was  my language then I would focus heavily on body language. The tone of voice. The look on the face. Whether or not they look me in the eye or are at least facing me the whole time as they speak. All that plays a huge role and safeguards against any suspicious and uncomfortable behaviour.

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Gift receiving- can be fairly evaluated. It obviously helps if you are the kind of person who loves giving gifts anyway. If you are not then spend time with someone who is or ask them how they know what to get the person. The straightforward alternative is to ask the person the kind of gifts they normally like receiving. The hardest way to discover this language is by being complained at about not getting things for them. Every now and then a small card with a note wrapped in an envelope on top of box of chocolates will do the trick. If it is a woman, all that next to some appropriately selected flowers will do too. They say It’s the thought that counts. Let it be well planned and well timed.

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Acts of Service- is a tough one because in my experience it depends on the level of relationship you have with the person. With me there are some people I would not mind making tea or coffee for, help put the office in order and fulfilling some of their tasks if I can. Those people essentially do stuff for me as well. At times I cringe at the thought of getting some people something. The worst is when I absolutely have to. It is torture at its highest degree! One of the best is when someone does something out of thoughtfulness and care, especially when it concerns an errand that you needed to get done later.
It is amazing when a person offers to help you with something you need help with so badly and all the people you were certain were able to assist, are not in a position to do so, but the right person, with the right thing, the right contacts, comes at just the right time!

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Physical Touch- in some ways can be complicated. The setting in which you communicate this language matters. One cannot put arms around another’s shoulder during a meeting! From what I have learned, there are few different kinds of touch:

a) Social Touch: this is simply the touch that is socially acceptable. No one will give you a second look or regard you as guilty of anything if you shake hands, gently rub the upper back (something I personally love doing) or pat it, pat the forehead, high fives (and lows and side-fives), fist pumps, and cheek-hugs.

b) Friendly Touch: this is the kind of touch that only a friend can give. Normal hugs, arms around shoulders during walks, stroking of hair and my favourite, back massage. I really love giving those.

c) Romantic Touch: this one goes deep. Prolonged stroking of hair, holding hands, body strokes, cheeks being slowly massaged, hands on thighs, kissing, love bites and sitting and/or lying on the other person.

Again, depending on the depth of the relationship, the necessary type of touch is to be implemented. I will make a very important point: Everyone Is Different. That means that some people, usually extroverts, are comfortable with prolonged stroking of hair and sitting on the other person’s lap, especially during movies when the relationship goes no further than deep platonic friendship. What all that generally means is that as long as you understand the person’s language and how they like being communicated, you can do so anyway you like. I must say that the last point is subject to a few things:
Mood, Timing, Personality (are they short-tempered? Do they easily have mood-swings?) and Environment.

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Quality Time-is a very nice language, particularly when spent with the right person. I remember meeting a girl for the first time at outreach. I believe the total time we spent in the first two days was 30 minutes. On the third day I decided to do something crazy. I asked her to take a walk with me and have a very deep and intense conversation. Now I just wanted to see how she was going to respond, and it turns out, that she was very cooperative. Looking back at it, it was the first time I ever did such a thing and it feels great! The one aspect that made it worthwhile was being at the right place, with the right person, saying the right things, all at the right time. That is the key.

Speak Wisely
I think the smartest thing to do is to see how well you can mix up the languages. If you give Words to someone who gives you Time, that makes for a meaningful conversation. Think about giving Gifts to someone who gives you Service, as far as actions speaking louder than words is concerned, it does not get better than that! Time and Touch can happen more regularly than any of the other combinations, even more so with close relationships. Words and Gifts work very well too as long as there is good understanding when they are communicated, as does Time and Service.

The Right Language At The Right Time
The more difficult combinations are Touch and Gifts. If you receive touch and your best friend receives gifts, it can be hard to naturally weave those two together unless you plan it well. This leads me to the next part:

Secondary Langage
The primary language must always be the main focus no matter what because it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that the primary has changed to the secondary one. The other mistake is forgetting, neglecting or intentionally diverting from the primary one which is the obvious consequence from the first point I made.
Even if you know the first two languages, it is still important to make the most of the first one, but if it does prove to be difficult, then yes move on to the second one. If you do not know what it is then just assume that it is Words then Time. If any of those are first then use the other as the second. If you discover that it is neither then Touch is the next best bet. The reason I chose those is because they are the three “easiest” languages to communicate in terms of effort. It is much harder to give Service and Gifts since they require the most amount of effort to execute, at least compared to the others.

When it is all said and done understanding how a person feels loved is really important for all aspects of life, but mostly, work and family. Do your best to come up with clever strategies for fulfilling the other person’s love language and see if you can include creating an environment where yours can be fulfilled at the same time. That is all it comes down to. Think about your best or closest friend. How is it that you two operate so well together, aside from experiences growing up if you are childhood friends? What about the coworker you are closest to? Why is that the case?

I firmly believe that understanding each other’s love language can be a key component in conflict resolution.

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