Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville, NC

August 2010

I've been dreaming about prisons a lot recently. I'm feeling a little trapped.

Most of this is due to my own choosing. Between the New York apartment and traveling for work, I am spending little time at home. I am a bit unsettled, and my time doesn't feel like my own. In addition to working with clients, I am launching a new business and website,, and planning the release of my latest book, The Inspired Life: How Connection and Contribution Create Power, Passion, and Joy.

Some of why I feel trapped is not of my choosing. I'm all over the place emotionally. I am so ready to get over this break-up and get on with my life. I know, I can't rush the process, but I still wish I had a fast-forward button.

This month, we'll look at the five languages of love.

The Five Languages of Love

How do you give and receive love? According to author Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five ways to express and seek love.

One: Words of Affirmation

Two: Gifts

Three: Acts of Service

Four: Quality Time

Five: Physical Touch

Whether it's your significant other, parent, child, coworker, or friend, you can strengthen the relationships in your life by learning to speak the other's language.

I feel most loved through gifts. It's not the physical gift that's important to me; it's the expression of love behind it. When a significant other brings me flowers, I am elated. Growing up, my father often gave me gifts that were educational. Because I felt there was an agenda attached to these gifts, they seldom brought joy. Instead, I felt sad.

My ex-partner experienced love through quality time. When I took the time to listen intently or initiate an intimate or intellectual conversation, he felt loved.

Neither of us was proficient in the other's love language. Instead of whining that my needs weren't being met, I learned to ask for what I want. I once asked him to plan, organize, and implement a "date night." He rose to the occasion: flowers, a nice dinner, and the theater. I felt wonderful! I then asked him to make a similar request of me.

What is your primary love language? Think of a loved one, coworker, or friend. Can you identify his or her language? What are some ways that you could express your love or appreciation?

Becoming fluent in all five love languages can greatly improve your ability to communicate. Give it a try!