The gift of giving can be interpreted in two ways: receiving gifts and giving them. Both experiences can leave us feeling good and even feeling loved.
Here, I will talk about different types of expressing and receiving love called The 5 Love Languages, and how the gift of giving relates to them all.
The 5 Love Languages
The 5 Love Languages are based on a book written by Dr. Gary Chapman. On The 5 Love Languages website there is an opportunity to take a quiz. This quiz determines your very own love language or languages.
Some people may have one specific way they understand and interpret love. This is their love language.
Other people may score high in a few domains and be multilingual in love, so to speak.
Becoming fluent in these five love languages is helpful in partnerships, but it can be valuable in all your relationships. Understanding how a friend or family member understands and feels love can help you to relate to them.
It can also help you learn how to effectively allow them to feel your expressions of love towards them.
The five love languages are as follows:
1. Words of Affirmation - This refers to using verbal language and words to encourage, acknowledge and affirm another person.
2. Acts of Service - This refers to doing something for someone in service to them. This could be cleaning, cooking, driving, or any number of actions that could be uniquely valuable to the person.
3. Receiving Gifts - This typically refers to a tangible item. It does not have to be an expensive item or anything big. A gift lets a person know you were thinking of them, especially if it is thoughtfully chosen as something you know they would enjoy.
4. Quality Time - This refers to taking a period of time out of your day that is focused and meaningfully spent with another person. Put the phones down! Be present with the person you are with.
5. Physical Touch - This refers to physical contact, as simple as light contact by touching a shoulder, or a hug. It could also be kissing or sexual contact in intimate partnerships.
Completing the 5 love languages quiz can help individuals and partners better understand how they need to be loved in a way that they can feel and understand.
For example, if your love language is quality time, but your partner's language is giving gifts, then they may not see your time together as an expression of love. Similarly, if they are frequently showering you with gifts but not spending quality time with you, you may not feel their love being expressed.
The website provides three different versions of the quiz: one for couples, children, and singles.
Understanding these differences allow us to adjust how we express our love depending on the person we are expressing it towards.
We want to express love in ways our loved ones can feel and understand.
It can also provide us with the self-awareness to be able to directly ask for our love needs to be met in a way that translates into our own love language.
Giving Love Versus Receiving Love
When it comes to the love language of receiving gifts, we are typically referring to person feeling loved through receiving a tangible gift.
For example, if your love language is receiving gifts and someone (a friend, partner, or parent) brings you your favorite sweet treat or an item you have been mentioning that you needed for weeks, then you would likely feel loved by that person.
An interesting concept I would like to bring to this discussion is how giving love relates to all five of these love languages.
Let me explain. If you take the time to figure out the love language that the person you love responds best to, then you are better able to let them feel loved by you.
For example, if you keep giving gifts, but their love language is not receiving gifts, you may feel sad or defeated when they receive your gift without any substantially warm reaction. This is especially true if your intention was to make them feel loved.
If you are able to give love in a way that is received as love by that unique individual, you will likely feel better and more fulfilled by your successful expression of love.
The Gift of Giving Love
Rather than giving up when your attempts to show affection keep falling flat, you can figure out their love language instead.
Asking your loved ones to fill out the quiz is helpful if you or they are unsure what their love language is. And from here, you get a gift too.
You get the gift of giving love.
Any one of these love languages can be a way of giving love.
You give your quality time to a loved one as a gift of love, especially when that may not be your own love language.
You give your words of affirmation to express love to someone in a way they can feel, and so on.
Learning a New Language... or Five
Learning a new language is never easy. Shifting your perspective to be mindful of the different love languages will take time.
However, many people who incorporate an understanding of these love languages into their lives find that they can have more fulfilling relationships with the people they love.