About a year ago I read a book called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Believe it or not, I read this book for work and to be a better manager. The idea behind the book is that people are motivated differently and everybody has a “tank” they need to have filled to feel satisfied. The author explains there are five general “languages” to have your tank filled. Most people need a little of each of the 5 love languages, but there can be a dominant one. Usually people read this book to better understand their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend’s perspective, which I certainly can appreciate why that is helpful in stressful times and circumstances. Imagine if you were in an uncomfortable situation and you knew all you had to do to make the other person calm down is to gently touch their shoulder? Or maybe that would do nothing, and instead you should give a word of encouragement. It would be helpful to know how to fulfill someone you care about and what triggers them. You can also use these ideas at work or in the community, to understand what drives and motivates someone with whom you are working on a project, in a group activity, or just working side by side every day.
The first love language is gift giving. Some people love a thing, anything, to represent that they are being thought of. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be a physical item. For example, if you went on a hike, you could bring back a pretty rock you saw along the way to show them you thought of them on the journey and you wanted to share the beauty.
Another love language is quality time. A meaningful act for someone with this dominant love language would be to engage in conversation, put the cell phone and other distractions away, and be present. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but when you do make an effort to give your full attention it is very special to that person.
The next is words of affirmation. Being told they are strong, courageous, smart, or kind can really make someone with this dominant language feel uplifted. It needs to be sincere, but any words that can help build you up take this person to the next level and they truly appreciate it.
The fourth language is physical touch. Having a pat on the shoulder with a job well done could be really impactful for someone. In a new relationship, holding hands may be critical. In a long-term relationship, holding hands is still important; or maybe just sitting close enough on the couch to lightly touch will be enough. To be fair, this language is hard to put into play in the workplace, so maybe go to their second dominant love language.
The last love language is acts of service. Giving a helping hand can make this person feel like they are really doing their part. Having someone offer to bring in the groceries, or do a little extra on a team project can really make a significant impact on this person. If you do something kind for them, they may do something kind back because you helped fill their “tank.”
I think a lot of volunteers at Chicktime have a dominant “Acts of Service” love language. I can see it based on the time they give to serve the community and the girls at Casa. I can see it by the time they put into events, getting to know one another and helping each other. I think they fill each other up with kindness by helping each other and the Casa community, and in turn they get filled themselves. I know that’s how it is for me.
What is your love language? No matter what your love language is, we could use your gift to help the girls at Casa, who each have love languages of their own and ways to have their tanks filled. We need to help these girls by filling their tanks the ways we also need to be filled; with kind words, with focused attention, and with small gifts. All of the love languages play a part when we help at Casa.
This month we will be making valentines and sugar cookies when we combine the cottages. There will also be a chocolate fountain with dipping sauces! We may talk about these love languages, or we may focus on the quote of making yourself happy instead of depending on someone else for happiness. There are so many ways to love these girls, and we can always use more help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend, I hope to see you there!
Love love love,