Alright, get ready for a glimpse into my childhood. I reflect a lot on this period in my life, both in therapy and in my own time, and I often find a lot of answers to why I am the way I am. This is the story of what I believe to be the reason why my love language is what it is.
When I was younger, my dad rarely told me he loved me. Whenever I’d say, “I love you, dad,” he’d usually respond with a “Ditto” or “Right back at you,” which was fine at the time until one day, it wasn’t anymore. I remember asking him why he never told me he loved me, and he replied, “I tell you that I love you all the time! Are you kidding me?” I think he figured that his usual responses were his way of telling me that he loved me, but I wanted to hear it from him the way I heard it from my mom. For whatever reason, it just seemed like those words weren’t in his vocabulary. He could never reciprocate them with ease in the same way I did. However, one thing he wasn’t afraid to share was how proud he was of me.
Any time I got a good grade in school, was chosen to participate in some prestigious opportunity, or won an award, my dad was always one of the first to tell me how proud he was of me. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, as it was so nice to hear this from my dad, but I wanted more. I wanted him to say three simple words to me, but the disappointment sunk in more and more as I waited for it to come. But one day, the waiting stopped.
I realized that my dad never told me he loved me because he showed it to me whenever we’d have a daddy-daughter outing. I always wanted to go wherever he went and by letting me come on hikes with him or on an errand to a nearby yard sale, that was his way of showing his love for me. Once I realized that quality time was our way of bonding and was his way of expressing his love, quality time was how I showed and received love from other people as well.
Unfortunately, as I got older, my dad spent less and less time with me. We didn’t go on hikes anymore, and I couldn’t even remember the last yard sale we went to together, but there’s one memory that sticks out in my mind the most. I was about 15 years old, and my dad was leaving the house to head to the grocery store. After years at this point of being denied the opportunity to spend time with him, I was determined to go this time. I begged and pleaded to go with him, and he repeatedly said, “No.” So, I did the only thing I thought I could do — I hopped on the hood of my dad’s car and begged him to let me go with him. After about five or ten minutes of pleading, his answer remained the same. He pulled off, and I went to cry in my mom’s arms where she stood watching it all happen.
To me, my dad took away the only way that he effectively communicated his love for me. He took quality time away, and it felt like I no longer had my father’s love. Quality time, which was once viewed as the one thing I could rely on, was no longer reliable. I no longer had the evidence I needed, tangible proof, that my father loved me, and it was devastating. However, the presence of my dad’s love and the absence of it both showed me the value of quality time. To this day, I love running errands with my mom or having meaningful conversations after I share with him what I read in my latest book.
Now, this isn’t a blog post to talk crap about my dad. Much to my surprise, my dad actually tells me that he loves every time we talk on the phone and every time I go to his house to visit. He even offers to go out from time to time! It’s a complete transformation from my teenage years, and I’m eternally grateful.
This blog post is to help you all understand that your love language isn’t just some cute quiz you take. It’s a quiz that will allow you to understand how you receive love best, and once you take a moment to analyze why you receive love best in that way, you start to tap into different memories that unlock the answers you never knew you were searching for. I’ve known my love language since reading Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages in the summer of 2018 and taking the quiz, but it wasn’t until literally this week that I fully understood why.
I implore you to not only do the assessment to find out your love language but to also do some internal digging to figure out the deeper meaning behind it.
“Quality time is a parent’s gift of presence to a child. It conveys this message: “You are important. I like being with you.” – Gary Chapman
If you made it this far, you’re amazing lol. This is the time of year when my students are waiting until the last minute to apply for college, so I’ve been super swamped and super stressed. I’ll be taking a bit of a break until things slow down a bit. Thanks for always being so supportive and understanding. 🙂