Do you speak love?

Do you speak love?

Oct 11, 2017, 4:00:00 AM Life and Styles

In my everyday life I speak Greek, English and Norwegian. I communicate in Greek with my family, speak English and Norwegian at work, use Norwegian everywhere else and write in English. With Greek being my mother tongue, I naturally make mistakes when I use the other two languages and have a more limited vocabulary. I try not to, but I think it's unavoidable. I also think everyone shows understanding to that, so I'm not very harsh on myself. 

I think the same applies pretty much to everyone and everything, as far as acquired skills are concerned. We are all expected to make a mistake here and there, when we try out things that are not our element, or something we are not very familiar with. We usually show understanding and leniency towards those, who speak a different language, come from a different culture or work with a system different to the one they're used to. 

Love is a language. A language we learn mainly during our upbringing and yet we never ask a new friend or partner “which love language do you speak?"

Why don't we do the same with the language of love then? If you come to think about it, love is a language. We grow up being taken care of and nurtured in certain ways from our families and that's more or less the love language we use. The way our parents loved us, affects greatly the ways in which, we love others and what we perceive as affection later in life. 

A person who is used to be given space and time, might perceive overprotectiveness as smothering and in return the other partner might perceive that need for time and space as lack of interest. Someone who interprets food making as affection, might be showing their love for someone in this way, but that someone might have no interest in it whatsoever and might be wondering instead, why their partner doesn't take them out more. 

Love is a language. A language we learn mainly during our upbringing and yet we never ask a new friend or partner "which love language do you speak?", "what translates as love for you?".  We are so certain that our language is the only one, or the right one and the thought that there's no right or wrong, or that there's big diversity in love doesn't cross our minds. "How can I love you well?", "what do you need/expect from me?", we could ask if we weren't so preoccupied with judging harshly, how well others love us. 

In love, we all come pretty much from a different country and have a different culture

Others don't love me right we might think and we don't extend the thought to that we might not be loving them right according to their standards either. And we don't forgive mistakes easily. And we don't extend the thought to that there is no right or wrong, but there is different. If we did that, we could live beyond trying to get others to accept our very own personal way of loving as universal and we could learn that in love, we all come pretty much from a different country and have a different culture. 

More importantly we could learn, that love is work, it takes effort and we can't expect to have it passively. There is unfortunately no language school for love, but there are ways to educate ourselves, if we're willing. We can ask for help, we can observe and listen carefully to our children, our friends, our partners. What is it that matters to them? How can we give them what they need? 

And then if we're patient and if we work hard, we can actually communicate our love and also understand better, that our loved ones love us truly in their own way. 

Published by Eleni Riga-Johansen

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