As we get started, please note that we're merging some of our favorite topics in this series. These various topics surround self awareness - i.e. Love Languages, Personality Types, and Multiple Intelligences, etc. The aim is to provide some points for reflection in order to gain perspective. As the teens and tweens that I’ve worked with would say: “we're trying to stay on our big brain behavior” as we learn and grow our relational capacity.

In our work, we like to start with awareness. It is our belief that once we are cognizant of, and can correctly and objectively identify viewpoints, then we can begin the necessary phases of work. In this piece, we're staying focused on how we can bring, adjust, and deepen our perspective on these topics - these awarenesses. Our belief is that once you become self aware, you can learn and do anything; and for many, that perhaps is its own mindset shift.

First, let’s give some perspective to Love Languages. We think it is a great foundation for relational awareness and self awareness; considering how it shows up when you interact with others while moving in different spaces. That can be kind of deep to consider honestly, but it's especially powerful in the insight that it provides. So we're going to be very straightforward as we review the evolution of Love Languages. Gary Chapman outlined this principle for couples; yet - it didn’t take long before people recognized that Love Languages could be applied to all interactions. Love Languages held consistent in all relationships, whether family, friends, co-workers, etc.  The
principle is particularly useful for “the ones that are always in our space” whether or not the exchanges are generally amicable. As a result, we are of the opinion that the better phrasing is Appreciation Languages, because these are the ways that people express appreciation or admiration.

Any behavior you can think of will fit into one of the five categories that Chapman outlined: Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, or Quality Time. It's powerful to solidify this perspective by reflecting on the Love Languages in action; meaning we can categorize any observable practice. Here’s a challenge - take a moment to consider activities that you've seen or experienced recently through the lens of Love Languages. Make time to take inventory so that you notice patterns amongst various spaces and in certain relationships. Was it: sending/receiving an inspirational text in the morning (Words of Affirmation), giving/receiving hugs and high fives (Physical Touch), or receiving/sending an electronic funds transfer for a gift (Receiving Gifts)?

Again, there's a lot of things that happen all around us on a regular basis; and we’re here to give perspective. A quick note on Quality Time: very surprisingly although consistently tweens and teens have had Quality Time in their top two dominant Love Languages. Initially, we were a bit puzzled and confused; but it made sense once it was put in a developmental context. They're basically in toddler phase two - toddler phase 2.0! In that phase of life, they're learning to interact with others and the world wouldn’t Quality Time demands being high make sense? A bit more perspective as we are in 2022 and there are easily many distractions; so be clear that Q.T. is uninterrupted, and distraction-free. That is what is being sought after and desired; authentic quality time implemented with fidelity and consistency. There’s definitely much required to be much more intentional about approaching Quality Time with whomever in whatever capacity because these are really just Relational Appreciation Languages.

Now, some heavy-hitting closing thoughts on Love Languages. If they're not understood or acknowledged, it causes feelings of unappreciation, misunderstanding and isolation; again, translating across all relationship types. Therefore, if you aren't speaking your child's, your colleague’s, nor your spouse’s love language, there’s a long list of adjectives and emotions that will be felt on their end. Then from the giver's perspective, the person desiring and attempting to show appreciation, they're going to feel misunderstood. I'm out here working hard trying to do all these things, but nobody is feeling it..nobody's appreciating my efforts. Another host of emotions: confusion, resentment, disappointment, etc set in. The reality is this occurs very often as people tend to give their own Love Languages, what they crave; versus what is the best way to demonstrate their appreciation to and for others. So, we automatically see the inherent problem that actually forms a cycle; a cycle of mis-appreciation wherein everybody is feeling unappreciated due to misplaced appreciation. One of our favorite parallels to draw on this topic: Given that someone is trying to demonstrate appreciation in a language that is not theirs; is equivalent to in a given world language when someone doesn't speak the language, and instead of translating or being sure to speak their language, the other person talks louder and more slowly. Crazy, right?! The situation is socially tone deaf in both regards. There is much to see, study, and support in the work of building relational capacity; but if you are here, you have started the journey. Fret not - we’ll be here to support as you do the work!

Until Next Time,

Anika S Jones

Anika S. Jones is also known as The Community Curator and also serves as the Lead Consultant of Holistic Fluency, Consulting L.L.C. whose unique approach merges Social & Emotional Learning with multiple facets of data to support educators, individuals, and organizations in defining, developing, and demonstrating community.

The organization is gifted with giving perspective, shining a light, building capacity, and sprinkling a little cayenne when needed - on virtually any educational topic. However - community, the village, and all that comes with it is our focus and our favorite! You can be assured that some intentional communication and awareness gems will be conveyed during our time together; while generally giving you some things to think about. In addition, check out Recipes: A Rite of Passage Subscription box and Course that's dedicated to adolescents. We're in this work to do our part to
see, study, and support our youth; and to be an outstanding member of the village that we talk about so often.

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