Friday, December 23, 2005

How Do I Love Thee?

I was recently having a conversation with a client about relationships and we uncovered an interesting fact: Sometimes, the way we need to show love isn't the way that others need to feel love. I'm sure there are many books written on this subject, but we came up with a simple way to find out how the other important people in your life get to feel loved. Just pay attention to how they show love to you. For the most part, we know what makes us feel loved, so we assume that is true for everyone else. When we encounter others we love, we show them our love by what works for us. Most of us don't even think about, let alone talk about it, so it's not surprising that we don't 'get' that there are different ways to show and feel loved. Some examples might be: (a) Physical demonstration, lots and lots of hugs (b) Small gifts or 'necessities' that say 'I was thinking about you when you weren't in my face'. (c) Saying, frequently, 'I love you'. (d) Asking pertinent questions about your day, how you're feeling, what you think about things, etc. (e) Working their butt off to provide the other person with stability, security, food, shelter. Here are some ideas to make use of this information:1. Once you notice how they are showing love to you, and you know how you show love to them, try an experiment. Within a half hour period, show them love in two ways. First, show it your normal way and then within 20 to 30 minutes, show them love the way you notice they show you love. Check out the reaction from each. Which one seemed to be felt deeper? Which one got the biggest smile? Wow! Just think what it would do to your relationship if you always got that biggest smile! 2. Either share the experiment or tell the others in your life what really makes you feel loved. Unless it's pointed out to us, most of us don't get this 'intuitively'. Why sit around waiting for them to figure it out when you could be feeling loved? After all, you needed someone to point it out to you! 3. If the other person shows their love by working their butt off to make your life better, I think the simplest way to have them feel love is to acknowledge what they do and how much you appreciate it. 4. What makes me feel loved might be different depending on who the person is (a parent vs a spouse, for example) 5. I probably need all the different forms of being shown love at different times, depending on what I'm experiencing at the time. However, there is one that is dominant, that will do the trick most of the time. 6. It is possible to experience the shift of 'knowing' that you are loved to 'feeling' you are loved. And feeling that you are loved may be one of the greatest tonics ever.

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