Today I’d like to talk about absolutely nothing at all. I don’t have anything in mind (it’s literally empty), and to be honest part of the reason I’m writing now is to avoid doing homework. This past weekend was General Conference, which, of course, means that I had zero time to do anything other than that. In the end, though, everything worked out.
To explain, most of my posts are just going to be rants about what I’ve been thinking about. Maybe they’ll go somewhere, maybe not. I’ll try to get some sort of point out of everything though.
I’ve been thinking about love. A lot of people seem to have it in their minds that love is something you fall into. Like a hole. Some gaping chasm that you’re just moseying along and suddenly you slip on a banana peel and whoosh! there you go out of control down a black hole.
I read a really interesting book over the summer called The Five Love Languages. Here, Gary Chapman points out that real love has a lot more to do with fulfillment of a psychological need than anything else. The emotional rush is a part of the process, but it wears off, and when it does, if the psychological need isn’t met, things fall apart. This is not exclusive to romantic love – for a developing child to feel loved the basic need to feel loved must be filled, and this is one breakdown that I’ve found useful.
So here’s a rough breakdown:
- Physical touch – these people are touchy-feely. They love hugs, holding hands, kissing, being close to the ones they care about, etc. Not feeling close to the ones they love physically can be devastating. Think of the little kid who always wants to be held or hugged.
- Words of affirmation – these people thrive on words of approval. Need to hear the good they’ve done. Need to know they’re needed, wanted, appreciated, and that people around them are grateful for what they do, their presence, their efforts and hard work, etc.
- Quality time – these people need time. They need one-on-one time spent just doing nothing. Chatting, watching the stars, road tripping, no distractions, no agenda, no nothing. Just spending time together.
- Receiving gifts – these people feel loved when they receive gifts. They don’t have to be expensive, fancy, or even overly thought out. Simple things like a cookie, a flower, a card, a letter, a thank-you note, or even a photograph can mean the world to them.
- Acts of service – these people feel loved when others help them in their work. Doing the dishes for them, making food, washing the car, shining your shoes, walking the dog, or any one of a number of things can really brighten their day.
It’s a good book if you’re interested. I recommend it.
Love is not so much a hole we fall into as it is an attitude we cultivate towards those around us. Those who best know how to love have learned to recognize what language their friends and family speak and specifically use that language to communicate their love with them.
Imagine what would happen to a person whose language is words of affirmation who, instead of getting compliments from their parents, often got hugs, but their parents always criticized them. They aren’t likely to feel loved. Each word of criticism is like a slap in the face to them.
A child who conversely speaks the language of physical touch, and often receives compliments but never hugs, handshakes, high fives, or anything of the sort from their parents will not feel loved either.
We live trying to fill our need for love. Once we start to understand that and understand the languages the ones we love speak, we can learn to speak the same language as them. It’s a simple choice, not some sort of magic equation that just works out in the end or doesn’t. Once you understand, it’s obvious.