So it’s that time of year when everyone starts talking about being thankful and showing gratitude (even more than usual). And I found myself wondering “What is an attitude of gratitude?” People are liberally throwing this around and yet I don’t think people have a good idea of what it means. I know that until recently I didn’t! This past week I read a wonderful post about gratitude, written by a coach friend of mine, that asked a few important questions…Do we actually tell our loved ones the reasons why we love them? Why we are grateful? Or do we assume they just KNOW?
And I started to think about all of the beautiful people in my life and whether or not I have told them how much they mean to me. Some of you have heard me say I love you, some of you haven’t…(btw I do LOVE YOU!) and that may be because telling you that I love you might not be how you do gratitude.
Whaaat?!? Dionne what do you mean how I “do” gratitude? If you appreciate something I have done or said (or not done or not said for that matter) then just let me know?
But the reality is that there is nothing “just” about sharing with another person the deep respect and true gratitude we feel when someone… has taken the time to…has thoughtfully done…considered us when…went out of their way to…made us feel good when… The reality is to truly feel appreciated, we as energy beings, need to receive the gratitude through a channel that speaks directly to our soul. Holy shit things just got WooWoo!! For my science geek friends don’t leave…this is based in science…studies done by a doctor and everything…
Okay so what the hell am I talking about…I’m talking about the giving and receiving of love, gratitude and appreciation. About sharing our feelings with another person in such a way so that we can almost guarantee that they completely understand and get our intended meaning. Because lets face it the root of all relationship evil is miscommunication…this doesn’t mean that this bit of knowledge that I am about to drop on you will solve all of your problems with your partner, it will however help to shift your perspective in the heat of the moment and allow you to change the tool you are using to fix your problem.
In true “the universe thinks she’s funny” fashion, the day I learned about the 5 love languages was the day I was tested by them. A little background here…in the early days of my transformative journey I was diligently reading the Success Principles by Jack Canfield and on this particular day I got to the section where he defines Dr. Gary Chapman’s Love Languages. There, in those few pages, my entire life changed (shocker… that happened a lot). For the first time, in the almost 10 years I had been with my husband, I began to understand why certain things he did (in his pursuit of happiness) would make my blood boil and why often when I felt I needed a little acknowledgement he seemed to miss the mark (even when I knew in my heart that he deeply appreciated me). The answer was Love Languages – 5 different methods in which people prefer to be shown they are loved/appreciated.
We each, I believe depending on our learning style and energy transfer preference(…more on that later), need to have love expressed to us in specific ways so that we can hear/see/feel it. We also, unless already knowledgeable in this subject, express our love/appreciation using these same specific channels. According to Dr. Chapman there are 5 distinct ways to express our love/gratitude/appreciation – Love Languages:
1 – Words of Affirmation
2 – Quality Time
3 – Acts of Service
4 – Physical Touch
5 – Receiving Gifts
In my case I happen to be an auditory learner as well as a person who is sensitive to the transfer of energy through sound so it was no big shock to me that I need to hear Words of Affirmation and that my secondary love language is Quality Time…where I can speak to my partner and have the opportunity to be heard. My husband on the other hand, I believe, has a primary love language of Acts of Service with a secondary love language of Physical Touch. What this means is that to show him the greatest amount of appreciation, in a way he clearly understands, is to give him the time to do something for himself (time and energy that he, as an empath, would selflessly give to others).
By making it possible for him to give himself permission for activities that fill his soul (usually activities that are physical in nature, like sports) as opposed to doing the duties he feels need to be done, he feels loved and valued. His love language of Physical Touch is most crucial when he feels stressed or upset. The act of connecting with the loving energy of another person, through a hug for instance, helps to dissipate the negative energy that might consume him. He is a kinesthetic learner and the energy he receives through his body speaks directly to his soul.
What does this mean for me…because lets face it this is my blog so it’s kinda all about me…it means that we basically speak 2 completely different languages and so there will be times when we conflict. This became abundantly clear one summer day, in one simple phone call. It was a beautiful day and I was still on leave from my surgery. I had recently started this wonderful habit of getting up early to read and I was deeply engrossed in Jack’s book, Dave was also up early as he had a golf date that he was really excited about. Like most people he only gets 2 days off a week and up until that point neither the weather nor his schedule had afforded him much time to golf. As per usual he asked me if it was okay that he went…let me be super clear here…I have never needed nor wanted him to ask me for permission and I would never say no, because we do NOT have that kind of relationship…he asked because he needed to be granted permission, because as an individual who willing gives his time to others he wanted to make sure that I did not need him and I said yes because the only thing I ever need, is for him to be happy.
This golf day was pretty typical, until he called mid-afternoon to “ask” if it was okay if he played another round. So those of you out there, who are like me, the Quality Time love language people, might recognize the rise in my anxiety level and the particular itch I started to feel under my skin when he asked. Because you remember from 1 paragraph ago that it’s a beautiful day and he is only home 2 days a week and as a Quality Time person all I really wanted was for him to come home and “show me” that he loves me by enjoying the day with me. Buuuuut you Acts of Service peeps are stirring in your seats right now because you know that if I was at all interested in showing my love and respect for him I needed to wholeheartedly (and genuinely) grant him the permission he was asking me for.
So what did I do????
Of course I said “OMG play another round…
you never take time for yourself and you deserve it!“
(You may have noticed that my response to him fulfills his language of Acts of Service and also matches my affinity for the language of Words of Affirmation…because remember that we tend to express love/gratitude/appreciation in the way we like to receive it…crucial to know if you are trying to figure somebody’s love language out…observe how they appreciate others and mirror that when you want to appreciate them)
Then what did I do…I had a little pity party…shook it off and made dinner. Because here it is … when we truly want to show another person how much we appreciate them we must recognize that it is NOT about how we would want to be appreciated, it is not about us! I had been home for weeks after my surgery needing to be cared for as did our children and he, as the ultimate husband, made sure I had everything I needed every minute of every day. Of course he deserved to be appreciated and more importantly to FEEL appreciated!
So what is an attitude of gratitude?
It is the time we take to truly understand and learn what others need so that they can feel appreciated and the state of peace we feel when we know that the gratitude we intend is the gratitude they receive!
Please hear me when I say that I appreciate every second that you take out of your busy life to sit with me and truly feel alongside me. I am touched that you not only see my vulnerability, you also care for it through your kind words and positive thoughts. Thank you, knowing that you are there gives me the courage to be here.
Wishing you the happiest of Turkey Days!!
All good things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!
P.S. I secretly dream that I am hanging out with Jack in California sipping wine, and we are talking about the power of our thoughts and the value of positive thinking and sharing the ultimate energy experience…okay now your turn… what are you dreaming about right now? Click here , email me directly, let me know … remember that by putting it out there, saying it out loud, you are asking the universe to make that shit happen for you. Lets do this together, lets give our dreams a leg up…what the hell it can’t hurt!!
P.P.S To discover your Love Language click here.
P.P.P.S. Read my friend’s post about gratitude here.