One of the books everyone told me to read when my husband and I first got married was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I had never heard of it before, but both my husband and I listened to it on audio. The book presents the idea that as individuals there are different ways to feel and give love and we might not have the same ones. Since reading the book, I have also heard of people whose love languages change over time. The five love languages he suggests are as follows:
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Like with any other typing system, no language is better or worse than another, but they are all different. Reading this book was revolutionary in that I gained language for discussing something I previously was at a loss for how to discuss. Within each love language there are huge levels of variance. For example my husband and I both value quality time as one of our top love languages, but for me that looks like conversation over dinner, on a walk or just sitting on the couch talking, and for him it looks more like proximity, us doing things next to each other feels like quality time for him. The book makes a lightbulb go off in your head and you start trying to type others you know. In some sense, that can be useful, but it’s not always accurate. People do not always express themselves clearly in that way.
This book gave me language to feel seen. I find seen when I am ten thousand feet deep into a conversation with another person, when I am analyzing and researching and considering all the minutia.
One of the parts of being human I think is most valuable is being seen just as you are. I think it is quite affirming to just let go of the pretense and the walls and simply exist next to someone else. I find the value of this to be immeasurable. My husband and I have that type of relationship, where I can tell him anything and I know he will still love me anyways, even if I share an unkind thought or something I struggle with he simply accepts me as I am. I hope I am able to give him that same sense of feeling seen.
In life, I feel like it is important to have places and spaces where you can be yourself and you know you are loved wholeheartedly by those around you. When I was young I found this in religion. As I have been reading through past journals, which for clarity’s sake I only wrote in during times of distress, I noticed when I felt that no one loved me, I knew God did. I found comfort in knowing no matter how much I was selfish or alienating myself from those around me God still was there. The calm of feeling loved and accepted gives us the courage to be ourselves more and in the effort find out more of who we are and how to be our true selves.
As you go through your life, I hope you have opportunities to be seen and to see others, for who they are and love them anyways.