Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

6 Ways to Express Love

How do you express love?

Recently, a friend suggested that there are four traditional ways to express love to others. I don’t know where she found this framework.

As I thought about it, I added two more.

6 Ways to Express Love

  • Giving gifts
  • Sharing quality time
  • Through physical affection
  • In words
  • Doing things for others – (mowing the lawn, picking up someone’s medicine, etc.)
  • A loving presence – “being” love

Have I missed any?

A Reflection On Love:

Of these six ways, how do you express love to others?  Is one mode predominate over the others?  If you have a partner, do you both express love in the same or different ways?  Are you satisfied with how you express love?  Do you feel stuck in one mode?  Are some of the ways that you express love dysfunctional?  Would you like to expand the ways that you express love?

Sometimes we “miss” each other because we express love in different ways.  So we don’t really “see” or even appreciate the other person’s love. We might even end up feeling unloved, when the other person is trying – in their own way – to offer their love.

Becoming aware of the different ways that people give love, can help us expand our experience of love to be more all-inclusive.

I would love to hear your thoughts on all this!

This is part of my series called A Compelling Question  If you enjoyed this reflection, please share the link with others.  And I would love to connect with you on Google+ or the Always Well Within Facebook Page.  With love, Sandra.

 

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19 Comments

  1. Kevin and I recently had a discussion about this. I grew up in a home with little physical affection, and even now, my mother expresses affection by cooking for me or giving me food. I find that I do the same thing to Kevin: instead of the physical affection he wants, I cook for him. Unfortunately, he’s not a foodie and is usually less than exuberant (usual comment: “It’s fine”). I get upset at him because he dismisses my food, which is the main manifestation of my love, and he gets upset at me because I don’t offer him the hugs and kisses he considers love. We’re slowly learning to understand the other’s language, but it was quite a light bulb to realize in the first place that we speak different languages.

    • I’m glad you and Kevin are becoming cognizant of this. This is such a perfect example and I really appreciate how you’ve shared your personal experience here. Knowing this can really make a difference in the quality of your connection. I’m so happy the two of you have made this discovery and are finding ways to bridge the gaps.

  2. smallftprints

    I’ve been thinking about the people, in my life, whom I love and who, I believe, love me. The actions we take to express our love are different but the constant is the underlying belief that love exists between us and the certainty that actions are never made maliciously but with a true & loving heart. This is important, in my opinion, because once we believe that love exists, we give each other the benefit of the doubt. When actions don’t seem to be particularly “loving”, we can relax and know that the love is there … and that a lot of external factors may be contributing to a person’s actions. So, in addition to all the expressions you’ve mentioned, I would add trust. Trusting someone and knowing that they will take care of your heart is, to me, a wonderful expression of love.

    • This is so beautifully said and such an outstanding point. That deep trust is so beautiful and I image it may be somewhat of a rare thing! Thanks for speaking about it here. If only we could all have such a sense of safety.

      • Your prose is almost poetic so let me say that i wirte my love a poem each Valentine’s Day and she cooks for me–and i weigh 204 pounds. i also give her hugs. Will send copies of poems..
        John (Jack) Brillhart

  3. Darling Sandra,
    What a ‘thinking cap’ kinda question!!!
    Ask me about love and I will smile like I’ve just seen a chocolate store 😉 I love “love” and all that it brings into our lives.
    You are right, many a times we dont appreciate it cause each of us have different notions and different ways of expressing this beautiful feeling called love.
    I personally am very vocal and very physically affectionate. I tell my little girl “i love you” like a hundered times at different occasions and without a single thought. But when it comes to my hubby, ahh there I’m a bit choosy cause I have to see to his moods as well. So even though I feel love at a particular time and want to vocalize it, I have to hold myself back….but he knows..so thats ok too 🙂
    When it comes to others i.e. friends, acquaintances and even road side strangers…I SMILE wide..right from the heart. Thats my way of saying ‘i love you’. If I can I add a Huge hug to the mix too 🙂
    In any relationship…especially close ones like lovers and spouses and even parents…we sometimes are not able to express what we are feeling. Thats Ok..as long as your actions in other ways show them you care for them and love them. Actions many a times I feel do speak louder than words.
    I have the weird habit of just walking up to a stranger, who I ‘feel’ is unhappy or troubled and striking a conversation. That act of walking upto that stranger for me is ‘being love’ cause I felt his/her pain and felt the genuine pull of love towards that soul. Yup, sometimes this backfires..cause not all are as open to talk in that situation…but I’ve had 90% success with this. Meaning..I am taking loving action and that action leads to ‘helping and healing’ my Mission in this lifetime is fulfilled in many many ways like this.
    Hence I say Love knows all, Love heals all, Love is really all there is.
    I so so want to stick this answer and this post with huge pictures of hearts 😉 In my minds eye this is just one HUGE heart post and I love love love it!
    Sending you butterfly love,
    Z~

    • You are so remarkable, Zeenat! You really have the courage of your convictions. I think you were born to demonstrate the power of love. Your courage “to be love” is just so amazing. May we all get in touch with our hearts and break them open just as you have. What an wonderful world it would be!

  4. Sending loving thoughts, prayer, holding a vision for or of someone. How’s that?

  5. That’s a great one too!

  6. What a great post and great responses. The first thing that came to my mind was listening, really listening. I think that is included in your last one about being present and being love. I know that learning to listen has made big changes in my relationships, both close ones and casual ones. Every encounter offers a chance to listen, to give someone the gift of being heard.

  7. Hi Sandra,
    This is a such a thoughtful post which is not to say that I ever expect any less from you. During the troubled times I have recently experienced how important it is to share time with those we love has been affirmed to me. I have always dreaded the day when I would become the reigning matriarch in my huge family. Now that challenge is before me and I am recognizing that in essense I have been preparing myself for that for several years now.

    Beyond spending “time” is being 100% attentive and listening with my heart in the now moment that has made all the difference to gaining a deeper understanding of where other family members and friends are coming from. They each have their own story and it’s not the version of it that I had previously thought it was. I don’t know about other people but I have a wild monkey that never rests. So it’s only when I’m in mindful in the now moment that I can be 100% attentive and able to listen with my heart to their stories. Hopefully, my ability to remain in the now moment will continue to improve in 2012 and what I visualize for each one who has shared their story with me will become their reality.

    • timethief,

      There is so much wisdom in your words! To be able to listen with an open heart and without concepts is a rare gift in this world of ours. This is very profound and insightful: “They each have their own story and it’s not the version of it that I had previously thought it was.” It illustrates how we can only truly connect when we get outside of our own little mental world.

      I have a wild “monkey” mind too! Slowly taming it with meditation. May all your positive visualizations come true for your friends, family, and for yourself.

  8. Hi Sandra,

    This is a lovely article!

    I use all 6 ways to express my love for someone. But I tend to favour physical affection, quality time and words.

    I think an important way to express love is to seize the moments. We only have so many moments here in life with the people that truly matter. We never know which ones will be our last. And it is such a waste to let moments slip by when you could create beautiful and loving memories with the person you love. I never like to miss a moment when inspiration hits me and I will do all I can to make moments special.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

    • I love this idea of seizing the moment! It so true that it’s easy to have regrets after someone passes. But that won’t happen if you seize the moments now! Thanks for this insights.

  9. Hi Sandra – This is a very thought provoking post. I think of all the ways you mentioned, I value most the ‘loving presence’. Sometimes it’s easy to be demonstrative – talk love or give gifts…. It’s so much harder to be ‘there’ completely listening to the other without prejudice, not jumping in with our ‘solutions’, or opinion, but allowing the other to be himself/ herself ….this means a total acceptance too.
    I’m going to be sharing this post on my blog’s Facebook page and will share with you the responses.

  10. Corinne,

    You’ve really gone to the heart of the question. You are so right that sometimes the ways we give love stem from our own unconscious patterns and aren’t always the deepest or purest ways to give love. Total acceptance is true love and it takes all our heart and committed practice to open to others in that complete way. I’m so glad you’ve shared your thoughts! Thanks for sharing the post on your facebook page to stimulate more thinking on the topic.

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