The gift came protected in a cardboard container nestled in a rustic gift bag lined with red tissue paper. With the gift came a note. The gift was hand crafted, one of a kind. The note was hand written, affirmation for a lifetime.
Words Of Affirmation
If you’re like me you treasure gifts but you light up with affirming words. One becomes a part of a prized collection and the other fills your emotional well.
And if you do come alive through words – spoken or written – maybe that’s because words of affirmation are your love language.
Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages is a go to resource in understanding yourself; others, and in particular helping couples understand each other. And yes, it is admittedly full of cheesy truisms (“keep your love tank full”), and it’s a pretty fluffy read overall but there’s a reason this whole love language thing has caught on (over ten million copies sold): it makes a lot of sense, and it works.
Chapman suggests there are basically five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.
The Five Love Languages
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Words of Affirmation
Because Words Matter
Jocelyn and I started REVwords because words matter. And for people like us, whose love language is words of affirmation, words matter most. I’ll write a note for Jocelyn early in the morning. Position it to be seen on the kitchen table before I head off for my day.
And when I come home it’s been posted on the fridge like a child’s work of art.
Words don’t have to be flowery to be cherished like roses.
For people like us, words are more than important, they are essential for emotional health and wellness – nourishment for your soul. I can literally be emotionally well fed for days by one sincere expression of written affirmation. Does this sound like you? Or like someone you know?
Over the past forty years Jocelyn and I have filled storage boxes with file folders, binders, and scrapbooks filled with written affirmations collected from congregants, clients, colleagues, friends, family, acquaintances and strangers. The boxes and the words are weighty. Do you have a collection?
What and How You Speak
Receiving and giving love through words comes at a risk. Got someone in your life that cringes at a tone of voice merely tinged with criticism? A daughter or son? Spouse? Colleague? Yourself? You perceive that person as “overly sensitive.” Maybe even weak. Perhaps that someone’s love language is words of affirmation.
Tone, volume, posture all speak louder than your words. It’s as much how you speak as what you say.
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21
The Art of Words
For words of affirmation to have any impact, it’s necessary to put time, thought, and yes, love, into them. Even if words aren’t your primary language you can learn to harness the power of words. Who needs a word from you today?
The love languages are more art than science. The art behind the love languages is a play on the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as THEY would have YOU do unto them.”
The important thing is to learn and speak the language of your spouse, kids and even colleagues. What’s your love language? Take a quick quizz and find out here. You’ll fall into more than one category but one will resonate more than the others. More importantly, what is the love language of those you love? Or hang with? Or work with?
And because words of affirmation speak lovingly, leaving a comment below will help fill our tank.
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Henry and I have lived 56 years of experiencing all of your points. If I didn’t, Henry would.
We raised our two boys that way as family. If I had one piece of pie left in the fridge, Dad had first choice always. If Dad said no, then I would give the boys the piece. They had to share it. One was to cut it in two pieces and the other was given first choice. Now we would enjoy watching as they made their choice. Laugh, that was a joy that not only taught a lesson in caring but they also were able to enjoy their choices with a very loud voice. The one who chose cutting in two.(it had to be perfect so that he would receive the satisfaction of being rewarded.) The other boy had FIRST choice! As the one cutting was experiencing distraction from the other one who wanted him to make a mistake and he might get a chance to get the larger piece. Then he would get his prize of being able to maybe enjoying the largest one. This experience was reversed the next time. The great thing was that they each had a chance to reverse the reward. We so enjoyed that performance. Love, laughter and joy. It covered all kinds of love. One of my loving joys!
So perfectly and beautifully said
Well said, Bob. Thank you!
As you are aware, our former PAOC Western Ontario District Superintendent passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. One of the gifts he gave credential holders was a birthday card every year, hand written and filled with personal words of blessing and encouragement. What a gift!
Thanks again for all you do in sharing your gift of words with so many.
Gibber was so good at affirmation. Since, never flattering.