What’s Your Language?

Yesterday I took the Love Languages Test.  I found it really interesting and truly accurate.

I few years ago, I read the book and made my best guess as to which language was my top one.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, here is description I took from the Love Languages website:

  1. Words of affirmation: These are things you say that are encouraging and affirming. I imagine that they are complimentary in nature as well.  Things like, ” I am so proud of you.”
  2. Acts of Service: These are things one can do for other people: cutting the lawn, taking out the trash, making dinner.  These acts service help the other person in some way with seemingly mundane tasks.
  3. Quality Time: This is time spent with another person where each person is actively listening and engaged with the other.
  4. Gift Giving or Receiving: This involves a tangible object that is given as a gift. It does have to be something big and expensive, but it shows thought.
  5. Physical Intimacy: The site was clear to state that this does not have necessarily involve sex, but it could include hand holding, hugging, cuddling.

Before I took the test, I already knew that a big one for me was Words of Affirmation.  A score in any one area can go as high as 12.  Words of Affirmation scored a 9.  This was followed by Acts of Service which scored an 8.  The final of the big three was Physical Intimacy with a score of 7.  Gift Giving/Receiving ended it all with a 1.

Again, I was not surprised by the way my scores played out, but it did start to give me additional clarity.  Some of my miscommunications with my boyfriend and children may stem from the fact that Gift Giving/Receiving is probably a much higher number for them.  My boyfriend gives me gifts all of the time, but he often finds it difficult to verbalize his feelings.  It’s important for me to put my feelings in check after I write him a detailed message about the reasons I find him so amazing and all I get is a t-shirt.  It also helps me to explain to him why he may feel like he is doing everything he can to help me feel loved, but I am being needy and distant all at the same time.

The other part of this text that I absolutely loved is the idea of a Love Tank.  We all have one and it is on various levels of filled and empty through the course of any given day.  My son running up to me just to kiss and hug me “hello”- Love Tank full.  My other son complains about the dinner I just made for our family- Love Tank empty.  It is not only important to know which language makes you feel like your tank is full, but also the language of your partner and children so they can feel full.

Overall, when we look at love as a reciprocal thing that has pre-conceived conditions for each person, it can give us more control over how we feel in our relationships.  Perhaps my not feeling loved is merely a matter of perception.  Or when I see how my son feels love simply by a small gift I procured at the store, I can know that his Love Tank is full.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?  Giving and receiving love…what could be simpler?

Click on the link below to find out what your love language.

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Additional Resource from fiercemarriage.com:

Wondering About the Nature of Love

heartWhen does someone know she is in love?  Is it just a level of caring that overtakes her softly and then sideswipes her over and over again until she wonders which way is up?  Or is love a combination of waves crashing on a beach, sometimes soft and lapping other times thunderous and raw? Does it matter if the other person loves us back?

I have read every relationship book ever created.  I have read The Rules, and It’s only F*cking Dating, He’s Just Not That Into You, Ignore the Guy and Get the Relationship You Want, Rory Raye, and Bruce Bryans, The Key to Getting His Heart, How to Be the Girl Who Gets the Guy…just to name a few, and I feel I have found the common thread that links them all together.  It is about loving myself first.  Unfortunately, this is the tough part, and these books aren’t entirely helpful in explaining how a person does this.  One suggests “circular dating”, and another is more keen on buying something that the person who is a successful relationship would own.  This way you are already materializing the good things you will have in the future. There are visualizations and experimentations, drawing clear boundaries, and feeling your emotions.  It’s all pretty exhausting.

A few months ago I went to the 2017 Flower Show at the Convention Center in Philadelphia.  I decided to go alone. I was going to take advice from one of my countless advisers: Just date yourself for awhile.  As I walked among the myriad flower displays, a cold loneliness washed over me. It was surreptitious at first.  I had fooled myself into thinking that I was totally having fun weaving in and out of the vendors, closely studying the beautiful displays.  It was right around then that I started to notice couples everywhere.  They were holding hands or kissing under arbors, snuggling up to catch a selfie, and I felt the bottom drop out.  I texted my mom.

Me: At at the Flower Show

Mom: That’s great, Honey

Me: I am on a date with myself

Mom: Oh, that’s wonderful

Me: I just realized something

Mom: What’s that?

Me: I don’t even want to date me

Silence.  It was at that moment that I realized I had run into a wall.  If the truth was that I could not even have a good time with myself, then what was I expecting on the other side of all of this.  I realized with sudden clarity that it was not love I was seeking, but a body to fill the void and keep me from me.  But why?  Why go to such lengths just to avoid me?  It would be in meditation that the answer was found.

In the silence, I remembered.  I remembered being that sad, little girl sitting in her room, ignored by the adults around her.  I remember my dad laughing and telling people that he could always hear me talking to myself. I was alone so much.  A child of divorce and a father who worked seven days a week…there wasn’t much time for me.  The thought of being alone catapulted me back to that moment if I wanted to go there or not, but then I remembered something Eckhart Tolle had said, “Our past is merely an interpretation of events.”  The loneliness certainly didn’t feel fabricated.  It felt very real and I resented those adults who didn’t care for me.  Either way the past was sitting in my lap during my meditation and I allowed it. I gave the pain and the loneliness space to be.  I did not deny that little girl the feeling of her loneliness, but I reminded the adult me, who was coming to realize that she was already whole.   I tried gentleness as opposed to an egoic tug of war with myself.  I allowed it to just be.  I wish I could say that it all dissipated and at that moment I was free, but any student of meditation knows that it seldom works that way.  My little girl self returns with a vengeance or sometimes a gentle tapping, but she always returns for the compassionate reassurance that she is not alone.

So going back to love…I feel that the best is on the mat, deep in meditation and silence.  I go within when I am overwhelmed with these emotions, even if going to the mat means I stop in a public place to catch my breath.   Currently, I am in love with a man.  I am trying not to let my white, hot loneliness take over, but I am filled whearts3ith fear. I want to nail this down, figuring it out, give it a title, know that it is all going to work out, but I have to go back to my mat.  I need to recalibrate and focus on what is real.  Love from Source.  Love that is already me.

Trust. Trust. Trust.

Thoughts on Dating

I stood in my kitchen.  The dishwasher was full again, and I was emptying it when I felt a slight stinging between my breasts.  I looked down, and I saw a mosquito.  I quickly swat at it, but it easily flew away and looked for another place to perch.  A small bit of blood remained after the dismount, and I was extremely irritated.  What right did that mosquito have to land in a somewhat sacred place and suck out my blood, and then fly away, only to come back and try again?  In all honesty, if the damn thing had done his business without causing a sting, I probably would have left well enough alone.  And isn’t that the rub?  The mosquito lands on us to feed and sustain its own life.  It’s not its fault that the slight discomfort is caused.  I would even go so far as to believe that it must be one of the Universe’s crueler jokes.  I have crushed more than one mid-suck because of this sharp sensation.  Even the mosquito must yearn for a way to eat without his victim noticing.  The only other reason I swing is because I know that it will leave a nasty red welt in its wake.

In the novel Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about a crucial moment in her spiritual development when she allowed the mosquitoes to feast on her while she mediated. She realized that the consequences of their feast was not that great and not that bothersome.  I have not reached that point yet, but this pesky mosquito did get me to think.  This is just like dating, isn’t it?  

If dating could just not have that slight sting, I wouldn’t be so petrified of it.  If I could just not fear that raised mark that gets left on me  for any number of days, weeks, months when a relationship does not go as planned, then I could maybe venture back out there.  Aren’t these feelings of attachment where love is concerned just as pesky and bothersome as this tiny bug?  My friends tell me that dating is all about kissing a lot of frogs and not caring.  Dating involves risks, but the risks are worth it in the end because there is the chance that I will find someone worth hanging on to.  I also think of Liz Gilbert, sitting in the field that is teeming with mosquitoes.  She sits calmly, knowing that the sensation is temporary and the mark will heal.  She even says that after awhile she cannot feel them at all.   

Dating and the Empath-Manatees Do Not Mate for Life

Manatees 600x400

So…I am still single. I have nothing new to post in that respect. I don’t know why I thought that my being single would send out some type of beacon like force and my true love would come out of nowhere with an “as you wish.” Here is the funny part. Okay, it’s not a laugh riot, but I have never been single. My ex and I were married for eleven years, and I can still feel every gut wrenching moment as he tries to work through our divorce. Fun, right? Before my relationship with him, I dated the random high school and college guys. There were not many I cared a lot about, but they were there.

So what do I do? “You had love in your hands, and you gave it up.” Yes, this is true. My ex still loves me. I could see it, feel it in his teary blue eyes yesterday. He loves me, but I don’t love him back. See poem below:

Maybe

Maybe we’re getting divorced because you put the stick of butter in front of the coffee dish instead of in it.

Maybe we’re getting divorced because I always vacuum and you just can’t see it.

Maybe we’re getting divorced because I make more money than you and you stayed home to raise our boys.

Or the long commute or the fact that you snore when you sleep and the way my voice goes up an octave when I am really upset…Or the affairs and lies (yours, mine, ours) or the time you screamed that you hated me, you really hated me

There are a lot of relationships that survive more than this, you said. You weren’t specific and one of the faceless therapists nodded.

They don’t get divorced, you said. And “divorced” sounded poisonous and wrong.

You are right. I can’t disagree.

I nod but in my heart my reasons are enough.

They all add up and congeal into one concise document with all of the wording just right. All of the blame left out of the margins as the neat sentences cover up all of the pieces that read between the lines.

You bend over to sign.

The pen smudges and curves and it no longer matters.

The end remains the same.

Where does love go? That glue that keeps a couple from coming apart…I know I had it once. I remembering feeling so in love with my ex, and I also remember the time I looked at him and thought, “I don’t love you anymore.”

So now I am on this bizarre crusade (putting the Holy Grail aside), and I am looking for someone for whom I feel…well, everything.

My mom looked at me the other day, and she said that it didn’t matter what I did. Relationships are hard and I probably won’t find it. “Men are just men,” she said. And I get that. I truly believe that men should be men, but I feel love around me all of the time, and I feel the love that women and men have for each other and this love spans years, decades, and I want that feeling. I want to look at the person I am with and be inspired, not every day, but sometimes. I want to be with someone I respect and when he looks at me with love in his eyes, I want to look back at him the same way.

Now my bags are packed. I have done everything necessary for the journey to start, but I can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other. I have been asked on two dates and cancelled both before they could even happen. There is a strange line that is dividing me. What if that type of love is over for me? What if I had one chance to figure out the “true love” thing and I messed it up? What if my ideas of love are just too romanticized, and I will end my search empty handed?

I think even if the answer is “yes,” I will not regret this decision. There is a place deep in my soul that knows that my choice to leave my marriage was the right one. My good friend once said, “Be careful jumping over a fence when you don’t know what is on the other side.” Well, I jumped. I just haven’t landed yet.