You know that saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” ? As kids we used to hear that all the time as encouragement to not take mean words to heart. An effort to reduce negative reactions to bullying and kids being kids. But I never figured out how to not let words hurt me. Instead I would just turn off the sad emotion altogether. Eventually I found Yoga and that helped me learn to let go of hurtful words. But if you say something meaningful or hurtful to me, I will probably never forget how it made me feel.

This year Linh introduced to me the theory of 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.In short, there are 5 ways people express and receive love: Physical Touch, Word of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Quality Time. Everyone places value on each way differently. For instance you might really value when someone does something for you. Another person might get more happiness from receiving a gift rather than if you did something for them. So in learning about this theory and trying to get to know myself and what I value, I’ve realized that I place a lot of value on what people say to me. If someone tells me I did something wrong, then I will feel horrible. My friend Gen always says she wants to see me and I feel really warm and fuzzy when she says so. However I’m pretty bad at expressing words of affirmation back to people. Chapman says that people don’t always give love the same way they want to receive love and that is true for me. I would rather cook them dinner or help them with something.

I’ve tried to pay attention to how others give and receive love. Gen likes to give love through words, Sheree doesn’t place much value on hugs or touch, Arch hates gifts and would rather you hang out with him. I think that knowing yourself is key to being able to live and work with others. Everyone is unique and knowing how to take care of yourself will ensure your own happiness. Here’s to the search for happiness.

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