The key to experiencing more love in your life is recognizing the many different ways people show it. So often it’s the case we miss the love sent our way because we are looking for it to be expressed in a particular way. For example, an adolescent doesn’t feel loved by his mother because she doesn’t hug or praise him. She, on the other hand, believes her love is obvious from her paying for everything he needs and most things he wants. Or, someone feels unloved in her relationship because her partner doesn’t surprise her with gifts or say “I love you,” overlooking all the ways he helps out and shows up for her.
Expectations of how love should be shown can create a blind spot making us unable to see the love others are trying to show us. In his book “The Five Love Languages,” Gary Chapman explains that the first step to removing this blind spot is becoming aware of your own preferred “language” or way of giving and receiving love. Then, become aware of languages different than your own. Based on his many years of therapy with couples, Chapman has identified five primary languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts, and quality time.
So, the next time you’re feeling unloved by your friends, family or your partner, remind yourself of all the different ways there are to express it. Practice accepting love in the form it’s offered and you just might find there’s more of it in your life.
Dr. Lisa Napolitano is an expert in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other mindfulness-based treatments. A licensed psychologist in New York and Florida, she is the Founder and Director of CBT/DBT Associates, a boutique psychology practice group. Dr. Napolitano is an expert in the treatment of stress, anxiety, worry, and emotion regulation problems. She has specifically designed her treatment approach for executives, attorneys, and other high-functioning individuals whom she believes shouldn’t have to sacrifice their careers to manage their stress and work on developing their potential.