What's Your Love Language?

February is a month where we place an emphasis on love and relationships. Regardless of  relationship status, Valentine's Day is the perfect reminder to show appreciation and gratitude for our loved ones. People always appreciate being appreciated, and while we might think these things, it's so important that we actually let them know how valuable their presence is in our lives. One of the habits I've been cultivating in my own life is the practice of a gratitude journal, and each day I make time to jot down a few things that I'm grateful for. I encourage you to make a list of some people in your life that you are grateful for and and let them know--make a phone call, send a text, send an email, write a note, or set up a time to get together and tell them in person! In my experience, this not only makes their day, but also strengthens the relationship.

How else can you express your gratitude? Start by speaking their love language. A number of years ago I was introduced to Gary Chapman's research and writing on the 5 Love Languages, and I took the quiz again about 2 years ago to get a refresh. It's based on each person's preferred communication styles, and will give you so much insight into how you like to receive love as well as how to better love other people. Communication is such a critical element in all of our relationships, and when you know how to speak someone's love language, you'll be able to understand how to relate to one other better. Also, I've found that it is so beneficial to continue to learn more about yourself and identifying your love language is a powerful tool for personal growth and understanding. You can take the quiz here!

Finally, decide to see this holiday and focus on love as the perfect reminder to freely give and receive love. It is easy to place barriers around ourselves, but life was meant to be done in community. Relationships with other people are so essential to living a meaningful and satisfying life; we need one another! It's scary at times to put yourself out there, and perhaps you've been hurt by others in the past, but I encourage you to love others anyway. The more love we give, the more our capacity to receive love is expanded; I can't explain it, but it's one of those things that the more of it that we give away, the more we seem to discover within. Whether it's through a smile, a hug, a card, a phone call, or time invested with someone, decide to show some love and appreciation for the people in your life. I promise it will make an incredible impact!

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