Today is going to be a little different than many of my posts and is going to focus more on an emotional aptitude than the normal goal driven ideas. Part of becoming an authentic person and living to our values is the creation and maintenance of enduring and meaningful relationships. To that end there is a skill that we all need to learn so that we can actually understand those relationships and be effective in our ability to communicate within them. Many of you have probably heard of Love Languages, the methods that people give and receive love in ways that are meaningful to them and that they actually understand. Understanding those is the first step in creating deep and powerful relationships, but the next part of it is far more important.

For many, they learn the love language and attempt to communicate using the ones that mean the most to them. That rarely works out the way that we want it to and the learned take the process another step to try and correct that. They communicate their love language with those close to them and attempt to learn the love language from those they care about. They hope that this will let them communicate effectively and deeply, yet it commonly still falls short of the mark. Next we move to the realization that we have a different language for expressing love and one for receiving love and those can be drastically different. We may communicate how we receive love without communicating how we give it, so that relationships end up feeling one sided.

The skills we need to develop take all of these parts and take it one step farther than usually. It employs the use of deep empathy when dealing with those we love even after we have learned the languages they use to give and receive love. We need to step outside, out own perception of the world, our own operating system, so that we can see the other person in a different light. Just like we have used our perception filters to change how we view the world, we need to practice that is viewing the actions of those closest to us. It may feel like enough to realize that your partner’s way of giving love is through words of affirmation on a cognitive level, but if your way of receiving love is not the same, frequently we won’t really feel that gift from them. This is where we need to step out of our own perceptions and view the acts from our partner’s viewpoint. This will allow us to internalize the methods that they are giving love and feel it rather than just know it cognitively.

When we take that step and can really feel it when they express their love to us, we can improve the depth of the relationship and become more aware and attuned to our partners and loves ones. This is something that will improve every level of relationship in our lives and take another step towards that profound and fulfilling life we are moving towards.

My wife’s primary love language to receive is acts of service.  But it cannot be any act, there are particular ones that tell her I really love her when I do them.  It has taken years to learn which acts get that message sent and since I am a gift giver most often to show my love, there was a lot of trial and error on both our parts as we learned how to give and receive love from the other as they chose to share it.  

How do you show love both to your partners and as appreciation for others in your live such as friends, family and coworkers?  Do they hear it in the ways you express it?  IF not how can you change so that they can hear your appreciation?