When trying to communicate something to someone, use a language they will understand.
When we try to communicate something to someone who speaks a foreign language, we either modify our message to a language they can understand or resort to universally understood symbols and signs. Because it is important for us to relay the message, we accomodate to the recipient; for example, if we’re in a foreign country, many of us will make efforts to learn some of the key phrases we would need and use to get our message across. This accomodation on our part prevents the inevitable confusion and frustration that would ensue if we only communicated in the language we knew and understood. Makes sense, right? There’s an urgency for THEM to understand US!
Take this into consideration for communicating with our loved ones. Why not have that kind of urgency when communicating care?
I recently listened to an audio book version of “the 5 love languages,” by Dr. Gary Chapman, it’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time.
He introduces a concept of ‘5 love languages,’ five ways in which we communicate love.
Words of Affirmation.
Acts of Service.
‘just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with al they have,’ the 5 love languages addresses just that.
For someone who understands love through words of affirmation, no amount of time, gifts or acts of service will ever equate to sincere words of appreciation and affection; I appreciate you. I love you. etc.
For someone who understands love through quality time, no amount of words or gifts can compensate for the time, undivided attention, given to them. For them, receiving time means giving them something we can’t get back.
For someone who understands love through receiving gifts it is the thoughtfulness that was put into the gift, not to be confused with materialism. Not the quantity or the cost but the thought that was put into the gift, the effort, etc. is what gives it value.
For someone who understands love through acts of service, they see and acknowledge care in things like when their spouse makes dinner for them when they are working late. That consideration trumps being told “I love you” … they need to see it to believe it. Proof in action!
For someone who understands love through physical touch, they can be told they are cared for, shown they are cared for but until they are held, or physically feel that love, they won’t receive it as completely as a hug, a kiss, sex or even running fingers through their partners hair while watching a movie.
And these languages go both ways; seek first to understand than to be understood (Covey). Figure out what YOUR love language is, how do you understand love, how are you assured of someone’s love or care for you? Then figure out what language your friends, family, and other people whom you want to show care for, understand love.
The golden rule was, treat others as you want to be treated.
The platinum rule is, treat others how THEY want to be treated.
Again, seek first to understand than to be understood
If you want to communicate your care to someone, do it in a way you know they’ll understand and if you know you understand love and care in a certain way, tell them so they can show you they communicate their care in a way you’ll understand.
Communication is key and the message IS important, don’t let your considerations get lost in translation.