We all want to be loved. There's this little part of our heart that gets all warm and melty when we feel cared for and acknowledged. I don't know about you but when I am told all the things I "should" do to make sure my spouse or best friend know I love them, I get incredibly overwhelmed. Really it's the perfect recipe for me to shut-down and completely swear off any kind of positive interaction. Little dramatic much? Maybe.
With that said, I started to sort through the many ways my spouse (who is my very best friend) acknowledges me every day. I realized that these small acts, words or gestures really make my day and I'd be lost without them. If you don't have a spouse, there are plenty of loved ones that could use these same simple acts in their life -- and it won't kill you to do them. Trust me. If I can do it, so can you.
1. Send a quick text
It does not have to be extravagant. It doesn't even have to turn in to a conversation. Heck, don't even expect a reply back. A little text saying "Hey, hope your day is going well!" or a too-good-to-pass-up GIF is always appreciated. The key here is that the text is being sent for the other person, not for you to receive gratification. Do it because you are thinking about them and want them to know.
2. Share things you love (and think they'll love, too)
Is there a podcast you are freaking excited about? Is there a post on social media that makes your sides burn with laughter? Is there a book you're reading that you can't put down? TELL THEM ABOUT IT! Even if they don't follow through with your same excitement, the shear fact that you want to introduce them to it will mean a lot. Not to mention the pure joy it brings when you both can't handle how great Stranger Things on Netflix is.
3. Do an act of service (without any expectations)
A perfect example of this would be when my loving hubby does a load of dishes and doesn't follow up his act of service with "Did you see that I did the dishes?" A service is meant as a sweet act or gesture with no expectation in return (are you seeing a theme here)? Acts of service are meant to be helpful and a show of love. If you force the other person to acknowledge the act, or simply expect it, then the service wasn't about them but about yourself. Acts of service can be as small as wiping down the counter or rolling garbage cans up from the sidewalk (yes, even if it's for your BFF who lives a city over). No true act of service is too small.
4. Compliment Them
Seems simple, eh? How many times do we see someone we adore and don't tell them? Start telling them! Don't be creepy about it (not all of us deal well with compliments), but be honest. Their hair killing it? Tell them! Do they smell nice? Tell them! Even something as easy as "I love you" (yes, even to your non-spousal BFF) can go a long way.
5. Amazon A Little Love
One of my favorite things are random treats my sister sends from Amazon. She and I speak a lot of the same love languages (food anyone? okay fine, that may not be an official love language, but whatever), so I have gotten random surprises from my favorite candy, a hilarious coloring book to a fun game for my kids. I know she is busy and doesn't have a lot of extra funds to be spending on me, so the thought of her stopping to do that truly warms my soul.
6. Listen to Them Without a "You" Response
I have learned that when I try to "connect" with people, it's done by sharing a story I think is related to the conversation. At times this can come off as me trying to talk about myself and not acknowledging the other person. I have to consciously make a choice to simply listen. We don't always have to reference our experiences or share our point of view. We just need to be willing to hear them. Heard = loved.
7. Ask "How Are You?"... And Wait For A Response
Weird, right? Nope. How many times a day do we say "Hey! How are you?" but don't really mean it? Just once, when you say this, really mean it; wait for a response. If you really love someone, you may have to tell them "No, but really...how are you?" We're all guilty of glossing over this question, so now's the time to pick one person you really love to try this on.
8. Fold The Clean Laundry
This may be a totally selfish request, but I'd marry each and every one of my friends that did this for me. Folding laundry means so much, in fact, that if I'm ever babysitting at a friend's house, I try to fold any laundry they have laying out. This could get weird if you don't really know the person, so maybe use this one at your discretion. If you're hanging out at your friend's house, turn it in to a laundry folding party. Sure it may be weird at first, but the joy (and relief) you bring will be worth it.
9. Hug It Out
Hugs are not only a way to say I love and care about you, but it is scientifically proven to have numerous health benefits. Benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety, pain relief, and decreased levels of depression. If any of you are like me, my real feelings are rarely hidden in a hug (not those side-hugs, a true bear hug). If I'm on the verge of a melt-down or having a bad day, a hug usually brings me to tears. I can't help it. I let go when I'm hugged and oftentimes it's a much needed release.
10. Bring Them Bacon
I don't feel like this needs any explanation. Bacon = love. However, if you have a non-bacon-lover (is there such a thing?) then bring or send them whatever their heart adores. A sweet friend of mine was having trouble finding gluten-free donuts only to be greeted by a delivery man courtesy her friend who lived across the U.S. I've also been surprised by an UberEATS delivery courtesy my husband who knows I never feed myself lunch even though I need it. I'm telling you...food should be an official love language.
What is love language?
If you don't know, you need to hop on this as soon as possible. After hearing about love languages from a source I didn't fully respect, I pulled it up and took the test in the most immature and mocking way possible. Guess what happened? It was the best test I have ever taken for myself and my relationship. There are 5 Love Languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch. When you know how someone (including yourself) feels loved, it is 1000 times easier to express love in ways that will make a big impact.
Don't know your love language? Take the test here. It's free!! (Click on "Learn Your Love Language")
You can also have your kids take a test meant just for them. Click here, click on "Learn Your Love Language", select "My Child".
Trust me when I say that knowing your love language(s) will improve your relationships ten fold. Knowledge is half the battle, amiright?
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