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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Think Piece Based on a Letter that Applies to Everyone

You all know that I love to write. But did you know I write almost 4 times as much as I post on 5 blogs put together? Yes, I do. I spent a few hours composing a letter to a friend today. It was impressed upon me that there was an urgent need for the letter. And that perhaps it might be already too late. In the end, I shared the important bits with facebook because the impetus for the missive was circulating through my feed again. Among my friends there are always cycles based on "Oh my gosh I totally forgot how much I loved that book." So this weekend The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is circulating again. I post my note here for you all:

This piece assumes the reader has familiarity with the subject and perhaps has a copy in hand. It comes from a personal letter to a friend. The problems with the 5 languages are usually within us and less within the theories and observations of Mr. Chapman. The glaring pitfall is that there are not 5. There are 6.

I noticed that you took that off the shelf last time I was there. We didn't get the chance to discuss your overall direction of study. Something made you curious about it again. Perhaps it was something I said about dishes? Or perhaps you were trying to figure out in a book what someone else was about in life? 
The best success you will achieve in any relationship, in any status, is through direct communication. That does not change no matter which love language either of you speaks.
To reiterate something I said about doing dishes with you: If that is how you feel loved, to have help or have something done for you, then you must accept it as it is given without attempting to control how that gift is performed. "Is it too much to ask that it gets done the right way?" 
However the "right way" is not always going to be synonymous with "My way." Believe it or not everyone was taught dishes in slightly different ways and with varying tolerances in the quality control department. So when you demonstrate or flat out say, "You can show me love by helping me with the dishes." then you have come to the end of your input. From that point, you will be given that kind of love based on the kind of training they were given by people who loved them or whom accepted that demonstration of love in the past. Parents will be the source of most examples of love giving in any of Chapman’s 5 languages. 
When you critique, do over, or use your body to move someone out of the dish doing zone you are rejecting the love that you asked for. This is called body blocking. It is a method employed by manipulative people to control others. As ranchers use dogs, horses and gates to body block herds and funnel them into a location they desire which the animal does not, so too the manipulative person uses body blocking to control another person. This is not a situation which needs that level of control. These things erode your friend’s confidence in their perception of the quality of and level of acceptance of the quality of that love that was given. These levels are learned primarily from parents. When you reject the love you asked for, you manipulate the other person into questioning what they know of love at that level, then all levels. The resulting doubt sets them in pursuit of the perfect love you seek. Which is never fulfilled. Chapman cites a case study describing this more effectively, refer back to the book for the detailed description of the corrosive effects of control in relations. 
In the long run, what your behavior communicates is stronger than you words. And the long term effect of controlling how you are loved in the minutest of details is this "I want love but no one is going to love me exactly the way that I want to be loved." And since you will not give what you can not guarantee in return your relationships erode. This either happens because one is manipulative of others as I hinted above or because of a profound lack of self acceptance. With most of my friends who are less successful in relationships, as with myself, the case is definitely one of feeling unworthy of the love we seek.
Your issues are not with people they are still with you. They are still with your ability to accept love, they are still with your own thoughts/feelings/beliefs about your worthiness. This is usually the case with people living with frustration for multiple decades on a specific issue. Bearing this in mind it is important to realize:
  • No amount of self help will be effective until you have dealt with that.
  • Also, the exemptions you ask for yourself you must be prepared to offer to others.
  • Most importantly, in order for you to be able to use the 5 love languages to enhance your relationships you will have to relinquish the stranglehold of control you exert in your relationships:
  • you do not get to dictate in minute details how the gifts you are given are to be presented
  • you do not get to dictate how the gifts you give are received
  • there must be concessions for infirmity, mental or physical. A person with a broken leg can not be expected to mow the lawn when they are in a cast any more than a person with sexual assault issues should be poked, prodded, pinched, spanked to produce a squeal for your humor when it induces terror inside of them.
  • you must be certain of what is and what is not acceptable within each of the languages. Again, hugs and hand holding for a physical touch person with sexual assault issues is pretty safe, poking, prodding, pinching, slapping is not. IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE. Don't be THAT person. And if you aren't THAT person, don't remind her of THAT person.
I know that Gary Chapman says the following in the introduction and again in the end of the book. In my personal involvement with people I have learned that people ignore everything outside of the bullet points. So here are a few things to remember about dealing with people in general, dealing with yourself specifically:
  • Actions back up words. They do not speak louder than; they support.
  • Actions that do not support words are seen as YOU calling bullshit on YOURSELF!
  • What you place importance on you make time for.
  • If someone or something is truly valuable then it is attended to even when inconvenient.
  • When evaluating relationships one must realize that when one can not or will not make time for someone or something then it is of no value and must be eliminated.
  • If you don’t really love some one set them free too. There is no judgement or accusation in an honest acknowledging that someone does not belong in your life or that you do not belong in another’s.
There is no scientific research to back up Chapman’s claims, therefor, there is room for refutation. The only thing I would like to refute is the 6th Language. Treasuring the Box. Treasuring the box is a working title as much as the concept still needs some work. In essence it is related to having your friend’s back.
 I don’t mean hate who they hate and dress how they dress. I do not mean to say that you encourage poor judgement, false beliefs, or worship at the altar of your friend’s insecurities in a kind of gang mentality to preserve prejudices or egoistic statuary your friend’s mind palace. I mean, have your friend’s back, watch their 6, no one gets left behind in the face of danger have your friend’s back.
Treasuring the box deals with security issues. You can speak all kinds of words of love, so soft and tender. You can give the best gifts, throw the best parties. You can perform the most mundane or heroic acts of service, provide the most fun and enjoyable quality time or have the most exquisite physical touch, but if you do not provide security and protection none of that matters.
Perhaps I should call this one, Guard the Treasure Box instead. 
As I said, this is a working title. And I am still working on fleshing out the whole concept. As I said, this was part of a letter and something that had started with inspiration. Not sure how long before I get to the whole post so stay tuned.

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