Friday, February 28, 2014

Show Your Love!

It has been said that love not shown is love not known. Maybe you grew up in a culture or household where demonstrations of love were rare and considered 'schmaltzy' or just plain unnecessary. If you did then you were likely to have felt unsure about whether you were really loved. Perhaps your family members were demonstrative in showing love but they just didn't speak 'your language' often enough. 

Imagine a man who showed love to is wife by cleaning and getting dinner ready each night for her coming home from work. It was his way of showing her he valued and cared for her. Sadly she never 'heard' his love and after many years complained saying 'You never have any time for me. You are always busy cleaning or cooking and never just sit down with me and take a half hour to chat and let me share my heart'He can't believe his ears and says 'You mean I don't have to do all this stuff for you any more? All I have to do is sit with you and give you half an hour of my undivided attention and chat and let you talk?' He chooses to do this and within few weeks his wife is happier and feels a much stronger connection with her husband. 

You too may have yearned to 'hear' love in a way that was rarely spoken in your home and that also may have left you feeling unsure about how loved you were.

I hope you can see that it is really important to show love or affirmation and do it in a way that is really 'heard' by the ones to whom you are trying to 'speak'! For a quick overview of the five love languages, read my previous blog Speaking the Languages of Love

There are three ways that will help you identify the 'languages' of your friends and family:

1. Study their ways of behaving.
Do they buy you little gifts or treats or are they always wanting to spend time with you by suggesting coffee dates or outings? Do they touch or hug often or are they more verbal in telling you something encouraging? Are they always doing things for you or offering to run errands etc.? There are LOADS of clues there as people do tend to speak they language they actually long to hear.

2. Ask.
Say something like  'What can I do or say right now that would help you feel more affirmed or loved?' This may seem like a pretty up-front or even strange kind of question to the hearer, but if you preface it with telling them you really want to be able to improve and strengthen your relationship, then it will give it context!

3. Try them all.
Just try using a combination of all the languages and over a week or two you should begin to see which ones have the best effect. Then you can maybe increase using these and lessen the use of the others. By this time your friend/child/partner is going to be really feeling the love and all the effort you have put in is going to feel so worth it!

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, why not give this 'love languages' thing a go? Your friends and family with thank you for it!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Secret to being a Great Conversationalist

Do you know what the number one secret of good conversation is? 

I can tell you it’s not being articulate or having great general knowledge and it’s not even being able to give good advice (though all these things help). The key to being a great conversationalist is quite simply being a good listener.

I can guarantee that if you have ever left a party and said to yourself, 'I had a great conversation with that person', it’s because they were a good listener. They would likely have allowed you to speak and say all that you wanted to say, they would probably have asked great questions that opened you up, and they would have given you feedback that showed they were paying attention to all you were saying.

The good news is anyone can learn to be a good listener. Here are five things all good listeners do: 

No 1. They give their undivided attention. 
They make eye contact and are not looking over your shoulder at what else is going on in the room or constantly checking their phones!

No 2. They don’t interrupt. 
In other words they allow you to say all that you want to, before they speak!

No 3. They concentrate.
They refuse to let their minds wander onto what the football score is or what they are cooking for dinner tonight!

No 4 They make positive responses.
They listen with their whole body, so they will maybe nod their heads, make appropriate facial expressions or they might lean forward to indicate engagement.

No 5 They know when and how to ask the right questions.
There are two types of questions that are effective when listening. The first kind are reflective questions where you ask a person, ‘how did that make you feel?’ or ‘was that the outcome you wanted?’ The second type are clarifying questions, where you say something like ‘correct me if I’m wrong but what I think you are saying is….’ This tells the other person that you have been listening and are interested.

All it takes is a little mindfulness and lots of practice and you can become a good listener....and in turn a GREAT conversationalist!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Speaking the Languages of Love

So I thought I would join 'blogland' and include an occasional piece of writing with my mix of comments, quotes and videos found on my facebook page.

If you have been following the mouldbreakers facebook page you will see I have started a series looking at ways of affirming people. Some of you may recognise the material as the 'Love Languages', famously written about by Dr Gary Chapman. It's a simple concept but one which, when understood and practised, can pay HUGE dividends in all of your relationships.

The premise is that there are five basic ways to communicate love or affirmation to someone:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
4. Physical Touch
5. Giving Gifts

Most people will have one or two 'languages' that mean most to them. The trouble comes when we are trying to communicate love or affirmation to someone in a language that they really don't 'speak'. E.g. I can spend time talking to my child, but if they really feel loved by receiving physical touch they won't have their 'love tank' filled up without receiving some cuddly time! Likewise you could hug someone all day long, but if 'acts of service' is what speaks loudest to them they are not going to feel loved or affirmed without some tangible act that serves and shows them you care. To the 'acts of service' speaker the statement 'actions speak louder than words' is very apt.

They key thing is to learn the language of those you care about and begin to speak it. I did this with my children. I simply said to each of them in turn 'you know mummy and daddy love you don't you?' to which they answered 'oh yes'. Then I asked 'how do you know we love you?'. One of them answered 'oh...because you cuddle me and give me kisses'. The other said 'I know because you play games with me and talk with me'. One was speaking the language of physical touch and the other quality time.

Most people enjoy aspects of all five languages, but there will usually be one or two that they need to receive regularly to truly 'feel the lurve'! I'll maybe blog some more on this topic, but for now have a think about what language speaks loudest to you. The clue is in what language you most often speak to we tend to give what we would like to receive.