Love Languages are more important than you think

Learning About Love Languages Changed My Life

Love Languages is the classification of how people give and receive love to those around them.

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I remember flipping through channels around 3 a.m. on a weeknight in high school knowing nothing was good on TV. As I scrolled through the multiple channels playing George Lopez and The Nanny re-runs, I came across a talk show that had been aired the day before. It was a couple talking about a term called "Love Languages." I was curious as to what that meant, so I listened in.

The 5 languages are Acts of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. Each one has specific characteristics that separate it from the other.

Acts of Service consist of running errands for someone, vacuuming for them, and helping them complete a task. Speakers of this language enjoy someone being selfless enough to physically assist them and really dislike broken commitments or laziness.

Quality Time is all about undivided attention. This type of person loves nothing more than someone who can listen to them and put down their phone for a good conversation. If there is anything that makes them sad, it is distractions, failure to listen to them, and constantly pushing back plans.

Words of Affirmation requires a kind heart and thoughtful expression. People who enjoy words of affirmation need someone to tell them how much they love and appreciate them. Nothing makes their day more than to hear how proud you are of them and telling them why will have them on cloud 9. Speakers of this language hold tight onto what others say about them and can be discouraged easily by hurtful statements.

Receiving Gifts is not only about getting gifts from your loved ones but the ideas behind the gifts. If this person can see the love and thought that has gone into the present, they will cherish it. Missing anniversaries or birthdays is upsetting to them because it makes them think that they haven't crossed your mind.

Physical touch entails hugs, pats on the back, grabbing someone's arm and everything in between. It shows care, love, concern, and protection. Like most people, no matter what Love Language they speak, this group finds abuse to be unforgivable and a sign of betrayal.

Just because you enjoy giving/receiving love in one language, doesn't mean everyone else does too.

When I look at the Love Languages Website and took the quiz, it allowed me to recognize that my top two languages I enjoy the most are Acts of Service and Quality Time. Nothing is better to me than spending hours with someone I love and helping them out as much as I can. That makes my heart happy and that's how I show my love. But I came to realize that sometimes you don't get what you give. It doesn't mean that the person you love doesn't love you back, it just means they express their love in other ways. For example, my boyfriend loves Words of Affirmation. I could tell him I love him every second of every day for the rest of my life and he will be through the roof. Nothing makes him more at peace than people telling him how much they appreciate his help and how proud they are of him for accomplishing his goals. So as we caught onto each other's languages a couple years ago, nothing has been the same. We are more responsive to the other's feelings with exactly what they need and go out of our way to show the other the love they want and deserve.

You can never say "I love you" too much.

These love languages work in romantic relationships, but they also work in family and friend relationships as well. Each one of my friends needs a different kind of love and as I learn more about them, I know exactly what is the most effective way to make them feel love. It is so important to put forth that extra effort of knowing what things they enjoy and what things they can't stand. It leads to a healthier, happier friendship with both people feeling secure and respected.

Applying these principles is easier than you think.

When it comes to figuring out your Love Language as well as those around you, not only can you take the test but you can use some of your natural detective skills. Do your friends constantly need reassurance about their cute outfit? Do you find your sister fishing for compliments on occasion? Then throw out those Words of Affirmation more often and see how much happier your days are together. It is all about paying attention to the little things and getting to know others on a deeper level. Spending that little amount of time learning about their happiness can make a world of a difference. Remember: just because someone doesn't love you the way you love others, doesn't mean that they don't care about you too. Embrace your languages and become fluent within them, there is nothing more important in today's world than spreading the love.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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Life Is So Much More Than Ourselves

The lives we live are really so much bigger than just ourselves.

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I hope people hear this loud and clear when I say that this generation of people and quite frankly our society as a whole has become one of the most selfish to date. I really hope people reading this don't take it as me calling people out, "throwing shade" or bashing humanity, I'm just trying to put out a call to action but in a more blunt way.

This generation subconsciously lives by the "me, my, mine" lifestyle. Everything is all about us, and what we want and immediate satisfaction or gratification from the things that we do in life. We always want someone to notice what we are doing, that we did it and we want to be acknowledged for it. Our wants and desires power so much of what we do and how we react to what others do and so on and so forth. Also, kind of piggybacking on that, we tend to believe or live by the idea that, "yeah it happens, but it's never gonna happen to me" which can be a major issue when it comes to decision making. This is because we don't think about how it affects anyone but ourselves, usually in the immediate sense rather than the long term.

With that being said it can become an issue when we choose to ignore the other things going on around us like, "oh, someone else will get it." and then things like the trash epidemic and the state at which our planet and country is in now. We have become so self-absorbed that it's to hell with everything else. The places that we call home and the world that we know is falling apart and we are all just gonna sit by and watch like nothing is happening.

I am tired of the mentality that we as a society live in, and how we try to desperately to look great on social media but do nothing about it in real life. It is time that things change and we are the ones changing it.

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