Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is Your Heart On Your Sleeve?

Out of curiosity, I’ve been watching The Bachelorette. Last night, the first hour showed DeAnna’s dates in the Bahamas with the last three guys, Jesse, Jeremy, and Jason. “J” names are the best, by the way. I was thinking that of the three, Jeremy should go home. And he did. Ask Mom; she was watching with me and she could tell you that’s exactly what I said before it happened. I was so expecting DeAnna to keep Jeremy. Just goes to show that she’s a very intelligent woman, like me! Nah!

They had a second hour of show where they bring back the guys who were rejected, what they call a “Guys Tell All” show. Jeremy was there also. I won’t bore you with the minute details and all, but I’ll get the entry going by saying this: I am just like Graham. If you saw the show, you’ll know what I’m saying. I can see Jules nodding her head as she reads this; “Yup, Jenn ain’t lyin’. That’s exactly how she is.”

Just to explain, Graham was the guy who had a difficult time opening up to DeAnna, with words at least. He showed how much he cared in other ways. He was reserved and sort of the mysterious one. And it was driving DeAnna crazy. After she rejected him and was trying to explain to him why, he pulled out an envelope, saying that he knew there were things he just couldn’t say to her out loud.

That is exactly how I am.

I’m not the kind of woman that wants to “talk.” I don’t offer my feelings in words easily at all. I rarely make the first move towards a hug. I’ve only had two very short romantic relationships; in one of them, the guy was the first to say “I love you.” In the other relationship, it never got that far. They were both the ones who would try to get me to talk. I can come off real cool, but underneath I just might be swelling over with how much I care for someone, and they often miss it.

And I often write my feelings out, in letters, in cards, and I suppose this journal counts towards that as well. Some things are difficult for me to say out loud. I don’t know that it’s from fear at all. I’ve never been a talker. I think some of it is wanting the recipient to have a physical record of how much I care. It’s my way of saying that this is truly how I feel and I want them to remember it.

It isn’t specific to romantic interests either; I’m like this with practically everyone, friends, family. This is why Jules understands exactly what I’m saying. It’s caused us to have it rough at times because Jules is very up front about how much she cares and I have a hard time letting even her in. But Jules is a very patient and forgiving friend; I cannot express in enough words how grateful I am for her.

Jules has read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. The five the author lists are: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. I think I wrote about this before, but it fits here. Well, from what I’ve said many times before and repeated here, Words can be ruled out. Touch is out the window as well. Jules thinks that the way that I show love is by Acts, maybe even Gifts. I think Jules is right; I would do anything for the people I care about. If someone needs something, I’ll be there. If I don’t know what to do, you can bet I’m trying to figure out something to do.

With Gifts, I definitely try to be very thoughtful in the gifts that I give. I try to give things that reflect the recipient, what they like, an activity that they enjoy very much, etc. Other times, I give things that say something about what I like because I want to share with them something about me. In both cases, I’m saying that I was thinking of them. It’s embarrassing to say, but I do miss birthdays sometimes, but I also give non-occasion gifts because…I just like to. I’m not trying to “buy” someone’s affection; I will make a gift as many times as I’ll buy one. It’s more important to me that a gift be meaningful because it’s one of the ways with which I’m comfortable expressing myself.

So if I shudder when you lay a hand on my shoulder or come off as uninterested in a conversation, please don’t be too harsh on me. Remember it doesn’t necessarily mean what you think. I may be speaking another language or maybe I’m not so used to your language. I am very aware of how frustrating it is. I don’t “wear my heart on my sleeve” so take a notice of the other caring things I do. Do the same for others you know whom might be like me in this regards.

I don’t know that this is something that I could ever change, or even that I want to, but I do try to show in other ways that I care. I am trying to work on the Words of Affirmation part, especially with the youth at church, encouraging them to continue coming and all. I’m also trying to spend quality time with them so that they’ll come to know and trust me. We’ll see if my efforts work.

As to the languages I respond well to, that’s a little different. According to the quiz on FB, I respond to Quality Time. Hmmm…maybe….

What do you think? What is your love language?

Mahalo for reading in!