Ecstatic Play - Love's Languages outline

Languages of Love - basic information

How do you know you are loved? How do you know you trust someone or at least what they say and do? Do you feel it when your partner/s, friends or boss say good things about you or to you? Or is it more important what they do? Does how they behaviour, give gifts or dress and look after themselves to impress you or do things for you, tell you they care?

These are the languages of love. They are more than words. They are more than just about love, even if the love is lusty temporary play. They are about how you trust people, about the way you represent your world to yourself and the actions you take expressing yourself, and how you read what others do to express themselves. When you talk to yourself inside you can block out other people's attempts to talk to you. If they use your style of language, they might get through to you. They do this particularly if they pick up on the metaphors and sensory words you use and even beyond words find the right kinds of actions that talk to you and let you reach other people.

Conflict in a relationship can often be the result of two people who love each other, or even are just friends but they are speaking different languages based on different senses, different ways of trusting. So one person is verbally-oriented says “I love you” easily and often then expects, needs to hear it said back to them. Their partner is feeling-oriented or action-oriented. The words don't mean much to them, but doing things, giving massage and making love says I love you more intensely and deeply real. Each are using the language they trust and that make 'sense' to them but they aren't hearing each other.

The core of communication is listening. You listen beyond words and ideas to feelings, to people's underlying construction of the world, emotionally as well as intellectually, to how they hold their ideas, whether they feel a cause or an effect in their life (inside and out), and if they are comfortable with ambiguity or need certainty, and then how they act and interact on their perceptions and understandings.

If you want to be heard you need to listen to the way people talk to you and others, listening to hear the languages they use for talking to themselves. The more you find out about these languages the more you can share with each other directly, the more intimate and powerful your relationships and play will become. As you learn each others' languages of love you'll share more intense experiences. For some hearing compliments, hearing the words like “I love you.” even receiving gifts, dressing up, doing things for people can seem superficial and meaningless. But all these things can also be precisely what other people are waiting for in order to know they are loved, that feelings are real, can receive the good feelings.

So what are the languages we talk to ourselves with and share with others? They are how we represent the world and our relationships with it and people in it. As mentioned they are more than words though they include them depending on the person. So the primary way we represent the world inside is through the senses. First and foremost we represent the world through vision, hearing and feeling, secondarily we fit smell and taste into our map in the world. These representations in the reflexes of our nervous system include how we organise ourselves in space, through actions and postures.

So the languages of love are how we show love, concern, empathy and respect but also how we hear and feel them. Here they are: -

    • Show it; See it: focused on sight – you take trouble to dress well, keep yourself fit and healthy to look good, keep the place tidy and use beautiful design.
    • Saying it; Hearing it: focused on hearing – you say complimentary things, talk about your feelings, are careful with your words and often careful to listen
    • Feeling; Touching – communicating love and emotions by touching and wanting to be touched, has it opposite which is when people find touching so intense that they avoid it. It is connected to the next two because it is the feeling of acting for giving and service that makes them work for us.
    • Giving and Receiving – this combines senses as giving/receiving as an action is a kinaesthetic feeling experience because gifts can also be visual, sound, smelling, tasting and touching
    • Acts of Service – Again combines senses but is about an emotional experience, the act of listening can be an act of service, so can all or any of the above can be part of it.
    • Quality Time Shared – This is about the way, quality of attention we pay to each other. Basically giving undivided attention to your partners or friends can communicate love, concern and connection.

When we first meet in our excitement of romance and lust we use all of these languages naturally because we are seeking to impress, demonstrate our feelings in every way. As we get more secure in the relationship we start to short cut the expression of our feelings. When we do this we start expressing our feelings as we best like to receive them, in our own primary language. If you are a person for whom “quality time” is the way you know you are respected and love you'll arrange a couple of hours with your partner to show your feelings, but if your partner is a verbal or visual they maybe waiting for you to say “I love you” or the take the trouble to dress well for them rather than slob around without concern for appearance. They may not even notice that you are expressing your love by setting up special times together with no distractions and you might be frustrated because they say “I love you” but are bored by the quiet moment you've created just for the relationship and fill the special time you set aside on Facebook through their phone or watch TV or doing video games or reading.

These six expressions of love come from Gordon Young, my hypnotherapy teacher, and doesn't agree with the book “Five Love Languages” on the subject, it still bounces off the ideas in it.

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