Despite my interest in mental health and counseling, I'm not big into self-help books. I think too many of our current self-help popular books are absolute b.s. not founded in anything but one man's (coughSteveHarveycough) personal experiences and wants. Folks don't want researched based theories and advice anymore, they want the things that feel and sound good and in some cases continue to give them an excuse to do what they've been doing.

*steps of soapbox*

However, I have found one book that I love and talk about all the time that might fall under the self-help section. The Five Love Languages. I went to visit my cousin on a work trip out in Denver last year and she talked so much about the book that I had to get it. By the time I got back to DC a day or so later, I had finished the book and gained a new appreciation for self-examination.

The book is really worth the read so I won't go into to much of it, but the 5 Love Languages are Physical Touch, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service and Words of Encouragement. My love language is QT. There is no better way to show me that you care about me than to just spend time with me.

One other thing I liked about the book is that the author talks about how people give love the way they receive it. I do that -- I spend time (or try to, anyway) with people I really care about. The author uses case studies to show that doesn't always mean a good and healthy relationship. If you want to communicate with a person, you have to do so in a language they understand. Same here, if you want your partner to know you care, you have to do so in the way they understand which means getting to know their love language. Ever since reading the book I've tried to figure out what my close friends (because this isn't just applicable to romantic relationships) receive love.

The one love language I just don't really see a part of me is gifts. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate gifts but I'm a bit particular. I've experienced situations where I was given a gift to make up for a lack. Maybe the person just couldn't say they were sorry for doing something wrong or they wanted to illicit some response from me that they thought the gift might bring out. In any case, it's manipulation with a gift. I love getting gifts from people who saw something and thought of me or just genuinely wanted me to have something. I'm not a fan of being manipulated by something that should be done from an earnest and genuine part of the heart.

I may be being a bit too much with that, but it's how I feel and in fact I've not kept gifts long that I felt like were given to me for any reason other than just genuinely wanting me to have it.

I think intent is everything. I think that there can be poor intent behind almost anything you do, including spending time with someone. Gifts, however, I think are the most prone to being misused.

I've had several recent instances that have me thinking about my feelings on this and where they come from. My inner counselor has some thoughts on the matter but either way, I'll take my love in the quality time variety sprinkled with some physical touch... ok, maybe not sprinkled. ;)

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