Bloganuary: “How do you show love?”

This question had me first think about the pop psychology book on five love languages, but I think the question is broader than that. What ways do I show love on a daily basis, across my relationships? is how I interpret this.

The primary way I express love is through acts of service. This could be small things, like watching the pet of a friend who is away, offering my seat on the bus, or something much bigger, such as my career choice and the work I do every day. Teaching is above all a service, and I think love is necessary to sustain a long and successful career in a field that demands intellectual as well as emotional commitment.

Service to others, to animals, and to causes I believe in is an important part of my life and a way I communicate, lift up, or express solidarity, depending on the situation.

Another way I like to show love to those closest to me is by giving gifts. The best gifts are well thought-out and specific to the receiver. They don’t have to be expensive or even store-bought. Sometimes I give something that I’ve made or cooked. I make a lot of crafts that I share freely with friends and family. My neighbors saw a lot of food parcels at their doorsteps while stuck inside during the pandemic.

I didn’t always understand how I loved, and even less, how to comfortably receive the love of others. I’ve gotten better at understanding both, over time. I can read people so much better than I ever did, and see love in all kinds of forms, passing between people, even to me, every day. My clarity allows me to see many other things, too, some unpleasant, but that clarity allows me to navigate.

As I know people better, I see how they show love. For example, my step-dad is a consummate helper. He will do the most tedious task for you if he thinks it will make your life go more smoothly. Last time I was at home, he painstakingly repaired a wobbly wheel on my favorite suitcase. He does countless good-natured acts like this for the family, all while telling a stream of dad jokes.

My colleagues show signs of love, too, in their work. So many go the extra mile for our students, or are sweet enough to anonymously decorate the office for Christmas.

I think doing as much as possible in the spirit of love – whatever that style takes as appropriate for the situation, and not withholding or manipulating – is essential for a full life.

2 thoughts on “Bloganuary: “How do you show love?”

  1. Really well thought out. I like how service is love. That is so important but I love how you revealed being able to receive love. I can relate to this for sure and appreciate you for saying in. I am not great at giving gifts but this past year, making gifts, felt very special and far more personal to me. I will continue with that in the future. Thank you for your thoughtful and transparent post.

    Liked by 1 person

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