We are now a few months into lockdown life, it is likely that many of us will be dealing with feelings of frustration and/or entrapment within the spaces we might be limited to. The intrusion of these emotions can take their toll on the relationships that we share with the people who we are locked down with. Complacency is looming over some of us as we come to terms with this altered existence, whilst others of us are able to hold onto our routines in efforts to maintain a sense of normality. If you find yourself in a shared living experience with someone who is dealing with isolation in a different way to you, it can start to feel like you are singing from different hymn sheets.
"Nothing has more potential for strengthening one's sense of well-being than effectively loving and being loved.” - Dr Gary Chapman
This has triggered conversations between us this week about how valuable it is to be on the same page as the people we live with, it led to us exploring ways that we can get on the same page if we feel like we had wandered off it during isolation. We found that a really good way to regroup with our roomies is by giving some thought to how both ourselves and others interpret interaction by paying attention to love languages. In taking the time to observe the people who we are isolated with and figuring out how they receive and show love, we can have a better understanding of how to make those around us feel valued. Likewise, when we figure out what our own love language is, we can better communicate our needs to our living partners so that we too can feel supported. In discovering our own love languages, we come to realize the things that hold the most value within us. Could it be the time that someone spends with you that leaves you swaddled in warm hazy feelings for the rest of the day? Or perhaps it’s the uttering of kind and supportive words. In understanding our own relationship with the different love languages, we are able to better understand the ways that others are expressing and receiving love, which can be helpful if we haven’t been feeling very supported. We’re all about communication and self-awareness, so with this knowledge we are able to become aware of what we can ask for from those around us to create comfort for ourselves within a mutual space, after all, the more love we feel the more love we are able to share with others.
The five main ways in which we give and receive love (otherwise known as love languages) are; words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, gift giving/receiving and acts of service.
Words of affirmation
Using words of affirmation is the act of expressing positive thoughts and feelings to the people around you. This can mean compliments about someone’s appearance, how they do something well or positive feelings that they might bring you. For some, words of affirmation are a reminder that they are valued by you and are held in high regard.
For some, the best way to express love to someone is to simply spend time with them without the distraction of outside influences, focusing their sole attention on you and what you are doing together. To feel present in positive moments with the people that you live with is a wonderful way to show them that you choose to spend your time with them. For many people, time is the biggest gift of all.
The act of sharing physical contact with some people, whether that be a hug or a kiss or a reassuring, supportive hand to their shoulder, can be a really strong way for them to feel connected with you. People with this love language feel more supported by touch than any gift or emotional support you can give.
Feeling love via the act of receiving a gift doesn’t necessarily refer to materialism. It can be about thoughtful little things that someone has created with a special someone in mind, or reminding someone that you consider them by investing in something small as a token that you are reminded of them as you go about your day. After all, it is the thought that counts!
Acts of service
Ever heard the expression ‘actions speak louder than words’? This love language is a representation of just that. Some people receive love by the act of someone doing something thoughtful for them, like cooking them a meal or doing them a favor. No amount of words could replace the knowledge that for them, you are willing to spend your time helping them without obligation or complaint.
"Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English." - Dr Gary Chapman
Spend some time tonight thinking about what your love language might be, share this article with your living partners and encourage them to do the same. You can even try a few of the love languages out on your loved ones and see which ones makes them light up! Alternatively, listen to their complaints and observe the ways in which they feel let down to decipher how they feel supported. Let’s create uplifting and supportive living spaces by understanding the needs of ourselves and those around us!
To find out more check out ‘The 5 Love Languages’ by Dr. Gary Chapman or visit his website where you can complete his love languages quiz to discover yours!
Kate and Rosanne