One evening, as dinner was coming to a close, my oldest son got upset about something, probably me asking him to clean up. His initial outburst escalated, until he blurted, out of the blue, in between sobs:
"And you don't love me! You don't show me the love that I need!"
Wow. Granted, he's a very sensitive soul, who talks about his heart breaking into pieces if I ever raise my voice with him. But, nonetheless, that's always hard to hear as a parent.
My mind raced back to what I thought I had been doing to show love for him throughout the past week. But I realized that because I had been so busy- doing laundry, making food, keeping up with everything around here- I hadn't given him much undivided attention. I knew this was probably part of why he felt this way. I had wrongly assumed that by doing these daily tasks, these acts of service, I was showing that I loved him.
But who was I kidding? No kid sees their mom in the laundry room and thinks "Wow, Mom really loves me."
Gary Chapman, the author of "The Five Love Languages", claims that each of us has one or two dominant ways in which we feel love from others. The Five Love Languages are:
1. Receiving gifts
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
4. Physical Touch
5. Words of Affirmation
(You can take a quiz to find our your children's love language on his website here.)
So realizing that I probably wasn't speaking my son's love language very effectively, and that I actually didn't even know what it was, I got down to his level, put my arm around his shoulders, and said, "I'm sorry you have felt that I don't love you lately. I didn't mean to give you that message because I really do love you. I love you so much. What could I do differently to show my love for you?"
And do you know what he said?
"Buy me toys."
Now, I know that he loves getting new toys. But I thought all kids were like this, and thus I have been resisting buying him many toys because I haven't wanted to "spoil" him, or cause him to feel entitled to get toys whatever he wants. Plus, toys can get expensive.
But I suddenly realized that this was one of his primary love languages.
Receiving gifts makes him feel loved. I have a hard time relating to this because this is not my love language. But it is his. And I was grateful to finally become conscious of it.
He then stated that he also loves spending one-on-one time with me, and would love to go on fun outings, just me and him. This was something he has mentioned recently, but that I haven't figured out how to implement, being a single mom and all. But now, in the context of this conversation, it became crystal clear that he had been trying to tell me one of his love languages:
Now here's the amazing part.
Later that evening, after learning about my son's love languages, I walked past my dresser and re-read this note. (I have this sacred space on the top of my dresser, an altar if you will, consisting of a shallow basket filled with meaningful items that help me feel connected to the divine/God.) A few weeks ago I had made a list of all the things I wanted to do better as a parent and placed it in the basket. Here is what I had written:
After reading the first one, "Show and tell my kids how much they mean to me," my mouth almost dropped open. Here was my oldest son, telling me exactly what he needed from me in order to feel loved. Despite this being one of my current desires, I obviously was not aware of how to specifically achieve this. The fact that he initiated this conversation out of the blue was miraculous to me.
When I put my desires down on paper, and read them morning and night, I see how God/universe guides me to them.
Everyone has different beliefs. But regardless of how we each envision God, the divine force that we all seek to connect with is the same. The law of attraction does not just work for some people. It is working in everyone's lives, whether they are conscious of their desires or not. In the words of the Bible, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7).
I challenge you to create your own desires list, place it in a special place, read it morning and night, and sincerely ask for divine help in achieving it. Then share your experience in the comments below!
And I also invite you to figure out the love languages of each of the important people in your lives. Sometimes improving your relationship really is as easy as becoming conscious of the other person's love language and making the effort to speak it.
Namaste, beautiful souls!