My 5 LOVE Languages

Most of us have heard of the 5 Love Languages.  The concept originated in a book by Dr. Gary Chapman.  For brevity’s sake, I’m not going to linger in great detail, but basically everyone has primary love languages, (things that help them feel most loved) and it’s supposedly a good idea to learn your mates’ love language in order to love them in the way they need.  Dr. Chapman names these as the 5 Love Languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation 
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

These are, I think, pretty self-explanatory, so let’s move on.

I have often said that my primary love language was Acts of Service. I like it very much when my husband helps with household chores, mostly because it happens about as often as pigs fly. Physical Touch is also a big one for me. Words of Affirmation is my husband’s love language.  He likes to be told and validated and get love notes and things like that.  The problem comes when we try to love each other in our language, instead of our mate’s.  When my husband leaves me notes around the house, he is loving me with words of affirmation.  It’s sweet, but it also makes me bang my head against a wall.  It’s SO not what I need, when I’m up to my eyeballs in kids and chores and responsibilities.  He gets frustrated because in his eyes, he’s just done the sweetest thing for me.  So, I decided to make the conversation EVEN SIMPLER by re-writing the book and coming up with my own five love languages.  My 5 love languages are:

  1. Be Considerate.  No, really.  Consider me.  Did you eat the last of the bread?  Did you let me know so that I can go to the store and get more, or did you keep it to yourself and go about your merry way because who cares if I can’t make sandwiches for the kids with food I expected to have when I returned from the gajillion things you don’t think I do in a day?  Did you drive my car and bring it back with an empty gas tank even though you know I have an interview at 8 am the next morning?  Do you let me go on and on about something that concerns me, all the while playing a video game on your phone and not actually listening, so that when I look at you for a response, I’m met with silence and a look of total bewilderment?  Basically, respect me enough to treat me like a person.
  2. Don’t Be a Smartass.  When I send a text about the bread saying (pretty politely, considering my level of pissed-off-edness) “Hey, are we out of bread?”, don’t get snarky.  You’re the a-hole who ate all the bread and couldn’t be bothered to think about even writing it down.  I mean, isn’t writing notes your love language?  That means there’s really no excuse.  You could even draw me a picture of bread, whatever, be creative.  Just don’t be a smartass.
  3. Don’t Be an A-Hole.  I know, this is the second language that says “don’t”, and that’s not affirmative language, is it?  Still, I think it’s crucial and simple to carry out.  Just don’t.  Don’t come at me because you don’t like being confronted about some inconsiderate thing you did.  If you don’t like me reacting to not being thought about, please see love language #1 and consider mine and your family’s needs.
  4. Try Adulting. There’s so much I could say here, but come on.  You know what I’m talking about.  No slouchy clothes.  Take care of your appearance.  Maintain the cars, pay the bills (or at least give a damn about the finances), save some money, take care of things that need to be taken care of.  You know, be a grown up. Try seeing yourself somewhere in 5 years that doesn’t look exactly like where  you are now.  What’s the term for that?  Upwardly Mobile.  We should be moving up, like the Jeffersons, but less snazzy because they don’t make tweed jackets like that anymore.
  5. Feed Me and Tell Me I’m Pretty.  This one is the most obvious, and I just need you to do exactly what it says whenever the opportunity presents itself, and we’ll be good. Date me.  Be romantic.  Let me know that I’m cherished.  I shouldn’t have to cook every single meal, and I shouldn’t have to ask if I’m pretty or if you love me because you haven’t touched me in ages.  That’s not how you keep a woman.

So that’s it.  Those are my new and improved Love Languages.  Easy to understand and execute, and for me these are not in any particular order.  There’s no primary or secondary or last.  I want all 5.  Can I have them?  Well, I’m married.  To a man.  So… no.  But it felt good to write this and get it off my chest, and I’m hopeful that it will help at least one person/relationship to thrive.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  If you could write your own 5 Love Languages, what would they be?  Does your spouse meet them for you, or is it time to blog about it?

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Feeling Too Much

What is an Empath?

I am an Empath.

There, hope that clears it all up.

(kidding.)

An Empath, depending on what you believe, is either a name or description someone made up (totally bogus) to describe someone who cries too much, is a drama queen, is anti-social, etc. – OR – An Empath, sometimes called an HSP or Highly Sensitive Person, is someone born with the gift of feeling.  Google dictionary defines Empath as “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual”.

Don’t let the word “paranormal” throw you.  Empaths aren’t evil, ghosts, spirits, witches, or make-believe.  They are real, flesh-and-blood people like you, good reader, who feel on a level much higher than most.  When I describe this to others, I like to say “mine goes to 11” and I also reference E.T. and Eliot.  (If you do not understand those references, get off my blog now. Seriously. Quit. Bye.)

My ability shows up in little ways in my life.  Quirky things, like not being able to watch blood-and-guts movies.  I have a visceral reaction to … well, viscera. I also can’t handle lots of loud explosions.  Honestly my favorite types of films are happy ending, Disney-style, boy-gets-girl ones.  I tend to insert myself into the film, and feel emotions even as I watch, as if the story were real, and it hurts (physically, hurts in my chest) when I have to watch tragic things.  So I avoid them.  My sweet husband is wonderfully accommodating with me on movie dates, even if it means we see something rated PG or animated.   Another way it shows up is in thinking so strongly about someone that they call (or show up), or dreaming about someone, asking if they are alright, and having them respond with “how did you know?”

In addition to having stronger experiences emotionally, Empaths can often “read” other people, or feel the emotions of the people around them.  This is true in my case.  (Remember Deanna Troy in Star Trek?  She had this ability.) As you can imagine, this makes trips to places like the mall and crowded restaurants uncomfortable.  Often, it makes me tired, and I experience sensory overload.  The talking, the music, the clanging, the smells, and on top of that, the anger/depression/worry soaking into my pores usually gives me  headaches and a strong need to nap.  Empaths love to love people, and have a strong desire to avoid confrontation at all costs. (I have a shirt that says “Lover, Not a Fighter” on it.  That pretty much sums it up.)

Some people say that Empaths are not really gifted, they are just people who get their feelings hurt easily.  I am writing to say that 1) That’s a lie, and 2) People who call others “too sensitive” just don’t want to feel guilty for acting like jerks.  Now, it is true my feelings get hurt easily.  But I also love easily and deeply, feel compassion and – of course – empathy in a way that most others don’t, and when I’m happy it’s an ecstasy that most people don’t get to experience.

Most Empaths are gifted in more than one way.  Some can see auras, some have visions in dreams.  In a crowd, they usually go unnoticed, sitting in a corner somewhere watching quietly.  But they are valuable members of society, the “bleeding hearts” who have a tremendous ability to love their fellow man, generosity beyond measure, and an appreciation for people of all shapes, sizes, and creeds.

Mother Teresa is believed to have been an Empath, as well as actor Keanu Reeves, who is famously reclusive, shy, and kind.  Empaths are extremely good listeners, will quite literally hand over the coat on their back for someone else, and do well in creative careers like writing (hello) and painting.

Do  you know an Empath?  Are you Empathic?  I’d like to hear about your experiences.  If you would like to take an Empath test, try here: http://www.empathtest.com/ or here: http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html

If you love an Empath or HSP or want to know how to love them best, please read: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-tips-help-you-love-empath.html  AND  http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/famous_empaths.shtml  AND https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/awake-the-wheel/201305/feel-live-the-secret-life-empath .