Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Love Languages

Yesterday two very sweet things were said to me that made me stop and just appreciate kind words. I attended a New Teacher Luncheon, sponsored by Arnaldo Richards Pico’s Mexican Restaurant, and one of my fellow new-to-Bellaire, but not new-to-teaching teachers commended me on taking on the role of the freshman volleyball coach along with it being my first year teaching. She said she couldn’t believe that I did all of that, and that from her perspective, it “looked like I always had it all together.” While that was absolutely not true, because I was the farthest thing from having it all together, those words really meant a lot to me, because though there were moments when it seemed like I couldn’t handle it, I never wanted to come across as someone who couldn’t handle it. That’s not to say that I didn’t ask for help – often – but I didn’t want to start whining when things got hard. Which again, isn’t to say that I didn’t do that (shout out to my parents for always consoling me), but it meant a lot to me to know that I didn't outwardly appear to be drowning.
The girls that made it all worth it
And later on that very same day, a student in my 7th period class asked me, “Miss, you said this was your first year teaching?” When I replied that it was, he said, “Well, you’re doing a pretty good job.” I smiled and told him that I truly appreciated those words, because there are many days when I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job, or I don’t feel like I’m getting across to any of my students, and that I am just wasting both my time, as well as their time. So, that compliment put a little bit of pep in my step, on an otherwise very gray day (W H E N are we going to see some sunshine?). And when my dad asked me how my day was, I was able to respond with a “It was a really good day.” Because a few sweet and meaningful words go a long way with me.

So that brings me to the title of my post: Love Languages. I am not sure how many of you have read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but I highly recommend it if you have not. Even if you are not married, it opened my eyes in a huge way in regards to giving and receiving love to the important people in my life. To break it down for you, Gary Chapman believes there are five love languages (all descriptions came from this website) –
Words of Affirmation
  • This language uses words to affirm other people.
Acts of Service
  • For these people, actions speak louder than words.
Physical Touch
  • To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than the appropriate touch.
Quality Time
  • This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
Receiving Gifts
  • For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
The way you give love may be different than the way you receive love, but they might be the same for the person sitting right next to you, or vice versa. If you are interested in learning your love language, you can take this quiz, simply by clicking "Click Here To Begin." You know taking quizzes is one of my guilty pleasures, so this was right up my alley.

Anyway, one night I was hanging out with the fellow members of JAKL, and this topic came up in conversation. I knew my love languages were words of affirmation and quality time, but I decided to take the quiz anyway. My results did not disappoint. I am a big time lover of handwritten letters and notes, and a meaningful, from-the-heart note or card often times means more to me than an extravagant and expensive gift. Though don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate those things too. But I loved leaving surprise notes of encouragement to my roommates at The Clubhouse, and I love sending and receiving letters in the mail. And little comments like the ones I received yesterday? They didn’t have to be said, but they were, and I knew they were genuine. I am not the best at receiving compliments, in that I often don’t know how to respond, or if I am truly deserving of them, but they mean so much to me all the same.

Okay, maybe this wasn't the most heartfelt, but I'll admit that it still made me smile just a little bit! 
The result of my first season of coaching
Quality time also scored overwhelmingly high when I took the quiz, and that also comes as no surprise to me. Believe me, I am someone who knows that time is tight, so when I do get some time with a friend, I cherish it and want to squeeze the most out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I am just as guilty as the next person for checking my phone when I am with other people, but I try to check it and then put it away. I talked about the desire to be more present as one of my New Year’s Resolutions, and I think the fact that this is one of my love languages has a lot to do with that desire. I like to know that I am being listened to and that my words matter, because I am a pretty quiet person by nature (which I know, you may find hard to believe with the length of some of these blog posts), and I don’t often say a lot. So when I do say something, I would hope it would be listened to.

And let me end this post by saying that no love language is any better than the other. It’s all about how you give and receive love, and words of affirmation is no better than gifts, and vice versa. I love this book, and these five different languages, if you will, because it helps me know how to love the people around me better. For some of my roommates, that was doing the dishes without being asked. For others, it was remembering their favorite candy the night before a difficult exam. For still others, it was a big hug (which is hard for me because I am so not a touchy-feely person), but as someone who knows how much it means to be given love in my love language(s), I want to project love onto other people in the language that they speak.
The ladies of 311 W. 35th Street

Phew! That post was a little more heartfelt than others, huh? I’ll end it on a typical fitnessandfroyo note, though. Today is my last longish run before the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. I plan on running five miles today, swimming tomorrow, taking Friday off, running the ABB 5K on Saturday morning, and then resting my legs all day and drinking plenty of water in preparation for Sunday’s race. The excitement (and nerves) is starting to build, and I have already started to lay out the clothes that I plan to wear. I am keeping my fingers crossed that my left IT band doesn’t give me any trouble during the race, as it has been acting up a little bit these past couple of weeks. If you need me, you can find me on the foam roller. It hurts so good!

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