Gift Me Your Words
I best receive love in two languages- “Words Of Affirmation” and “Quality Time”. However, my slightly more dominant love language is “Words Of Affirmation”.
I am a lover of words. Not just words, but quality words. One time my grandpa (a man of few, but powerful words) sent me a card. Wait, it wasn’t a card, it was a torn out piece of paper and scribbles on it said: “you can be anything and anyone you want to be.” That was it. It wasn’t pretty, it had no monetary value, it wasn’t even handed to me by the creative hands of Hallmark. But it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.
My senior year Sociology teacher in High School wrote me a letter at the end of the school year expressing tremendous belief in me and in my talent and deeper self. For a little background- I barely graduated High School. Life took its turns the way it often does and I tumbled right along in it. This teacher saw me and told me I was seen and that though I struggled in traditional terms of educational success, I was one of the best he had ever taught. I framed that letter and kept it in my home into adulthood.
When I was a teenager I cussed in front of my mom one time. She heard it, she sighed, and then gently she said, “You know, you are so much smarter, so much more creative than those words. I know that you have a more productive way of expressing how you feel.” In those words I didn’t hear her correcting me. I heard her tell me that I am smart and creative and good.
For me, words are life. My Mom must have noticed this in me at a young age. As a little girl I remember being upset, catching my breath through tears as I hid my face from her. She would sit me on her lap and ask me, “what are you feeling? Are you sad?” “Uuugh! No,” I’d hurl. But she continued, “Are you mad?” “Not really,” I’d soften. “Are you disappointed? Do you feel left out? Do you feel forgotten?” And she would take the time to offer me a variety of words, sometimes custom made, that I could attach my feelings to. Even if I was telling her to stop, she gently and patiently continued. And internally I wanted her to. Even as a child I felt thankful that she elbowed through my emotion and helped me see myself and give me the words to express myself. I felt worthy, valued, important, nurtured and soothed. I felt loved.
“Well,” you’re thinking, “I am not creative and do not know how to express myself in words all that well.” Aha, but you know which words are kind. And to those of us whose love language is “Words Of Affirmation”, it usually just takes a kind word, a basic crafting of kind words together. As long as you mean it, it will be received. Eagerly and gratefully received. And if you don’t have the right words to give, maybe you could patiently sit and help find the right words with this person you love. You could offer something like- “I feel like I don’t have the right words to give you right now, but I am here with you and I want to help you. Let’s start by naming what you are feeling. Are you mad? Are you sad? Are you scared?”
So there you have it, I am predominantly “Words Of Affirmation” with a combination of “Quality Time”. And really I am Quality Words and Time As Affirmation. This is me. This is the most effective way that I receive and experience love.
Knowing what someone’s love language is allows you to best communicate that precious and deep love that you feel for them. Consider also that the way someone is built up in love is likely also the easiest way to break them down. For someone whose love language is like mine, (Words of Affirmation and Quality Time) judgmental/condemning words and/or neglect can create much damage in them. So even if you’re confident that your teen knows and is experiencing your love for them, it’s still worth knowing what his or her specific love language is so that you can better provide healthy environments for them at home, at school, at church, and to better equip them to be self aware for every future place and relationship they will put themselves in through life.
Love and respect,
Alison M. Hood and her husband Zach, are dear friends to my wife and I. They have 3 beautiful daughters and are full of love and wisdom. Alison has a powerful and unique blog. Please take time to read her perspective on life and the unforced rhythms of it all!