Do you know your love language? If not, I encourage you to take a moment and take the quiz. I have taken the 5 love languages quiz many times, yet my results have slight variations each time. I believe that this reigns true for many people that have taken the quiz a few times. After all, we are human, and our needs change and adapt over time; this is why it is essential to frequently check in with ourselves and ensure we understand our needs and if they are being met. If our needs are not being met, we must ask ourselves what changes need to be made to best fuel our mind, body, and spirit.
One of the 5 love languages is "words of affirmation," and unless you are confident this is one of your love languages and express your need clearly, it can often be neglected. And despite the variations in my quiz results, this one has always shown up as one of the highest ranked for me. This was surprising! I didn't realize how much I needed words of affirmation to feel seen, validated, appreciated, and loved. It wasn't really until I entered motherhood that I was able to recognize that words of affirmation was such a strong love language for me. At work, school, etc., you receive frequent affirmations of "good job," "nice work," "team member of the week awards," and even your grades in a class can be a reflection of your effort and ability. As a parent, it is quite a while before your kids talk and express a sincere "thank you." And on a daily, you are doing things that just come with the territory of parenting, but may often feel like, geez....
...am I doing this, right?
...am I doing a good job?
...does anyone notice?
...do they love me?
After having conversations with other parents who felt the same way, it was clear that "words of affirmation" was something we ALL need to focus more on. As my husband and I discussed this, I realized that we both needed to up the ante in this arena, and we agreed to be more mindful of ensuring that we affirmed each other. The love, hard work, and effort wasn't going unnoticed but wasn't always expressed as it should be, and expression is an integral part of gratitude. With that, I also committed to doing more self-affirmations. This meant taking the time to acknowledge myself, my accomplishments, the things I was proud of because we can seek these affirmations from the people around us, but we too have to believe them and take a moment to give ourselves the credit we deserve. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling yourself you love you, you look good, and for telling yourself that you are doing a good job! And the more you do that; I can promise you the more you will believe it when others express it to you.
All of this applies not only in our romantic relationships but in our friendships as well. There is nothing more powerful than friends that are supportive and express their gratitude, and take notice of your accomplishments. If it's been a while since you've shared affirmations with a friend, try one of these:
I am so proud of you.
You make me a better person.
I believe in you.
I am grateful for you because....
How can I support you?
So, how does all this apply to December's Random Acts of Kindness? Well, after you've committed self-affirmation, and increasing your words of affirmations in your relationships, let's take it a step further and affirm strangers and those in our community.
Why? Because it's a simple, powerful, free, and potentially life-changing gift that all of us have the ability to do.
As I mentioned in the previous post, my first time being a recipient of a random act of kindness was a simple encouraging note reminding me that "I am loved." I had no idea who this stranger was that left the message, which somehow made it more powerful. The truth is, we don't need to know each other to validate and encourage one another. And by doing so, we strengthen each other and inspire each other to keep going. I was listening to an old Oprah Winfrey show, where she interviewed Maya Angelou, and she was expressing the importance of kindness and the impact it can have on the world. She stated, "the best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness." Maya Angelou is such an amazing woman and, through her life and teachings, always stressed the importance of showing kindness and love, one of the many reasons I admire her so much. This world has always needed people to be compassionate, kind, and understanding, but if there was ever a time, it was needed more than ever, I would vow to say it is now. This week, I am not asking you to purchase anything but use the gift of words and share it with someone.
Some ideas include:
Making a few of the same message on a sticky note and placing them on various cars in a parking lot. (ex. you are loved, you are unique, you can do it, keep going, you are valued, etc.)
Writing a message to your kids and putting it in their lunch box.
Writing a note for a co-worker and leaving it on their desk or calendar.
Stop someone in the store to let them know how great they look today.
Have fun with this, get creative on spreading the intention for this week, and please take a moment to share with me how you are making it happen. I would love to hear your ideas and stories of how it's going!