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We communicate the way we want to be communicated to.
This is our natural tendency and it can be a perfectly fine approach to cultivate connection in our relationships. However, it doesn’t work all of the time. The person on the other end of our outreach and communication may not hear us the way we want them to. They may not get what we are attempting to express. Sometimes sentiments just don’t land the way we intend them to. Has this ever happened to you?
It turns out that knowing our own language and the language of those we are communicating with – whether at home or at work is critical to making meaningful connections.
Love is one the most powerful emotion that humans seek to experience in life. We are born to give and receive love. Love unites us all and is the invisible force that powers healing, connection, and passion.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, our behavior and communication efforts (verbal and non-verbal) are attempts to experience love. According to author Gary Chapman, there are five love languages that are used to experience this core human quality. In his book The Five Love Languages, Chapman focuses on how to express heartfelt commitment to your mate / partner / colleague / staff member / friend. He claims that there are five ways people express their love.
1. Quality Time
2. Words of Affirmation
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
Once you identify your own love language, you can begin to identify the love language of others (your colleagues, family members, and friends.) It's not that hard – just listen and observe how they talk and when they light-up. This has been so helpful in my leadership, management, and executive coaching. It is a tool that can make a profound difference in relationship communication and satisfaction. Couples experience more satisfaction, teams strengthen, and partnerships are solidified.
Although the test in the book is incredibly helpful (and I would encourage you to take it), you don’t have to complete the test to understand the love language of yourself and others. In fact, once you become familiar with the traits of each language, you can easily identify the dominant forms of connection for your family, friends, and coworkers. For example, it was easy to spot my son’s language when he was 5. One day, playing baseball at the beach he ran over to me and said, “Mommy, when I am up at bat say “Go Riley Go, Go Riley Go!” I laughed and marveled at his need for affirmation and verbal encouragement, which has been consistent six years later.
This week, I invite you to contemplate how effective your communication is with the relationships that mean the most to you. Is there anyone that you are not completely connecting with? Observe whether you are communicating on your terms or theirs. Notice what their love language might be. Notice your own love language. Make a different choice on how you communicate and listen. Experiment. Open your heart to give, experience, and receive love.
It just might be that opening the door for someone, telling a coworker how much you appreciate their ideas, giving someone a hug, or taking your kids on a nature hike could make all the difference in how you, and they, experience love.
At Plenty, we believe passion is the fuel to possibility and purpose – both organizationally and personally. Passion is made from love. What we love matters. How we love matters. You matter – in every way.
Discover the important connection between passion, philanthropy, and success in our e-book "Welcome to the Age of Passion." Download your free copy today and begin inspiring and strengthening your organization.