Have you ever looked at Dr. Gary Chapman’s book: The Five Love Languages? It is fantastic and useful in ways I could never had imagined. It was recommended to me by a co-worker years ago. He said it changed his whole life. I know he and his now wife are happily married and they still recommend this book to friends, especially if they are having marital troubles or other issues of compatibility. I was a teacher at the time, and I realized the things I learned about myself and the people around me from this book not only enhanced my understanding of myself and my husband, but also my understanding of the other people in my life. It made it so I was able to recognize things I could do to support others that would have greater emotional impact. It also helped to recognize that things I did, that might not seem hurtful or neglectful to me, may in fact leave others feelings hurt, or leave them feeling less than cared for.
Dr. Chapman’s love languages are described at the bottom of this post. He suggested that there are five main ways that people express love or feel they receive love. We have this as a major habit derived from our families of origin, and seek to continue to use these modes to feel affection and give affection in our relationships with people. Our ability to feel accepted and appreciated at home as well as at work or school are also greatly impacted by our early home life and how we received and were expected to share affection and acceptance at home. If you have never considered that others may not experience caring in the same way that you do, this is a huge new beautiful world just waiting for you.
This book was re-released a couple of years ago, and I have not read the updated version, but I am sure it is equally fantastic. However, you do not need to go and get the book right away to start to grasp some of the concepts. You can take an assessment online here. As part of your continued effort at the yoga of self-understanding (svadyaya), this understanding can also encompass learning how to share your caring for others in a way they feel connected to.
While Dr. Chapman’s book and teachings are very definitely Christian in their expression, anyone of any faith or lack thereof should feel they are able to connect to what is discussed in the book. I was able to pretty much read the whole thing in about two days without having a lot of time, so it is an easy read. Reading the book with a partner, spouse or family member can be very enriching, since you would be able to discuss your findings with someone else who will almost certainly be very differently oriented than you. I would also love to see people post their expressive and receptive love languages here, so we can see how diverse we all are. These unique expressions allow us all to change and grow and to share in ways we might never have otherwise. it is quite beautiful to see.
So, the five love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Where do you find yourself on the list? What do you think about your spouse/partner? Your children? Your friends and co-workers? Take some time today after yoga practice and see how you think various people in your life communicate caring. Then think of ways you can tell them you care about them in the next week. It may be that you find your relationships deepening in ways you never thought possible.
Yoga Pose of the Day: Supta Padangusthasanana - Reclining Big Toe Pose
Yogic Concept of the Day: What are the love languages of the people I see every day?