by Gillian Koptik
It’s important to talk about love during times when love is less apparent. In our fractured political world where the climate is changing rapidly, focusing on love can help us come together and reflect on the goodness in the world.
According to a theory by the sociologist and psychologist Gary Chapman, there are five main “love languages” that people use to show love to one another.
The first is expressing words of affirmation — building up other people makes them feel appreciated and cared for. This can range from telling someone in passing you like their outfit, or sending them a letter full of kind words and feelings you have for that person.
The second is gift-giving. Giving someone something meaningful shows that you were thinking of them. No matter what it is, big or small, putting the time into getting someone something you know they’ll appreciate shows that you listen, and that you truly know the person.
The third is acts of service. Again, this could be big or small, but regardless expresses an abundance of love through action. You might do this when you take out the trash without being asked, or clean your house for your family, so when they come home they don’t feel stressed by the space. Doing things like this to make other people feel good shows you love them.
The fourth way people show love is quality time. You do this when you give the person or people you love all of your attention, and show them that you are focusing solely on them in the time that you’re together. This doesn’t have to be at a fancy dinner or on an expensive trip either- you can show someone you love them by going on a walk together, or even just sitting down with them and talking.
The final way people show love is through physical touch. This is the most obvious way we think of showing love. Being able to hold someone’s hand or give them a hug literally showcases love for them. Physical touch is intimate, and not something you do with everyone, either.
Regardless of how you show love, it’s important to take the time to do it.
Diverse Learners teacher Cheryl Graff at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) said that she shows love by trying to “always bring a positive energy.”
She added the students and staff members she works with are important to appreciate as well.
“It depends on the person and their personality. I compliment others a lot, I also show a lot of appreciation, giving small little gifts to someone like a colleague,” Graff said. She shows love through gifts and words of affirmation.
It’s always nice to make others feel loved, and those same feelings should be reflected back to you.
ChiArts student Emily Boyas said that when she’s around the people she loves her very way of being improves.
“I just feel more myself and I feel like a better person, just someone who they deserve to be around,” Boyas said.
She also mentioned that things like compliments can go a long way.
“Not letting them forget how much they mean to you,” Boyas said, is very important. Boyas shows love through words of affirmation.
Whomever you love, and however you love them, let them know. It’s important to surround yourself with people you love and people who love you back. You don’t have to be in a relationship to express love. Love is platonic, and can be shown and given to anyone in any way that feels comfortable to you.