The Six Love Supplies
I think of February as the month of love because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a day for appreciating our loved ones. We plan romantic dinners, give special cards and gifts, and do things we may not otherwise do on typical days.
Although there are many ways to express our love to another, we don’t have to wait until this special day to do so. The Six Love Supplies are tools you can use to ensure your loved ones know they are cherished every day.
Several years ago, researchers conducted a study involving 20,000 people of all different backgrounds, ages, ethnic groups, and cultures. Each person was asked, “How do you feel loved?” In essence, how is it that the experience of being loved gets through to you?
The number one answer was that people feel most loved when someone truly listens to them. A powerful and deep connection can be established through authentic listening in which almost nothing else compares. When someone really listens to us, we feel 100% accepted for who we are, and that encouragement and love can propel us even beyond what we know we can be.
Listening is the place where we can establish this unique type of connection. However, most of us have not been trained in the art of listening. Perhaps we have been taught to “not talk when someone else is speaking,” or all too often, people are thinking of their response instead of actually listening.
There is a powerful energetic exchange when we seek, in the moment, to do one thing and one thing only: to truly understand the other. Active listening is a time to be curious and simply seek to understand, without trying to attain anything. The act of listening is a loving experience that each one of us can bring to another.
The second experience of how people reported feeling loved is to be praised and acknowledged. When someone notices something that you did well, that you tried something new, or acknowledges that there is something in you that is worthy of recognition and praise, you feel elated and special. There is always something we can find to praise and acknowledge in another. Notice that the word raise is within the word praise.
The third is touch—the act of reaching out and putting your hand on someone. When you shake someone’s hand, the intention should be that you are in the hand that is shaking with that person. Being fully present and engaged when you are hugging your spouse or child creates a special connection between you. Routine touch—where our hand goes to pat the child and we are not in the hand that is patting the child—feels mechanical.
When touching is an experience that demonstrates real communication of caring, the touching is always appropriate, and it is always in tune with the moment. This is the kind of touch that is reported as an experience of being loved. It’s one where we feel an exchange of energy in the moment that we are being touched.
The fourth love supply is when we support each other’s dreams and goals. A person who believes that you can have your dream, even when you’re having trouble believing for yourself, is a true partner in believing.
The fifth love supply is offering feedback. When someone cares about us enough to tell us in a thoughtful way—and with loving words—that they are worried we might be off track, or that we have spinach in our teeth, they are showing us love. The feedback may be something they can see that we are not able to see for ourselves.
While feedback is one of the six love supplies, if it’s done out of balance or with even a taint of judgment, it doesn’t feel loving at all—it can feel like criticism. When feedback is given as a love supply, it comes from really caring about the other person. It’s not about making them wrong, or about being right. It’s also not about changing them. It comes from the sentiment “I love you so much that I am going to speak up about what I see.” Just as you might offer someone something to eat or a glass of water, you offer the feedback. They may choose to take it and enjoy it, or not; make use of it, or not. That’s how authentic feedback is offered.
The sixth and final love supply is keeping your agreements. People feel our love when we keep our commitments to them. It’s important to be careful about the agreements we make so we can be rigorous about keeping them. If we are casual about our agreements, it hurts the integrity of our relationships and keeps those relationships from being stable, solid, and deep. The foundation of trust that is created by agreements being kept gives rise to the possibility of a lasting and fulfilling relationship.
Start to notice when you feel the most loved. Of the Six Love Supplies, which is your preference? Are there any in which you feel unskilled or that you could dial up?
These are the Six Love Supplies:
- Praise and acknowledgement
- Support with our dreams and goals
- Loving feedback
- Keeping agreements
Have a love-filled February!
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