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Love Smart, Not Hard. Thursday January 14, 2016

How many of you have heard the expression "Work smart, not hard"?

I believe we can apply the same principals to those we love.

A friend (who was feeling unloved at the time) asked me the other day. "If you loved someone and you knew that by doing something you would make him happy, would you do it?"

It's tempting to answer with a quick "of course." But let's think about it for a moment. It may be that we assume the other person must know what we want and need. But they may not. Or if they do, they may not appreciate how important it is to us. Similarly we may not appreciate how important another's needs are to them.

On 4th January Lex wrote about emotional bank accounts and how we must protect ourselves from going overdrawn, allowing people to drain us. He mentioned that within the Moodscope community, giving emotionally rather than taking, is the norm.

As if to prove him right, one person immediately commented that they felt as if they were the ones doing the overdrawing. And oh, how I know that feeling.

When I am at the bottom of my cycle (and this time it was from September 8th to December 11th) I can physically do so little and am dependent upon my family and friends. They give so much to me. I can give so little.

But at least the little I can do can be intelligently directed. Because I know how all of them need to be loved. And it's not the way I need to be loved. It's as if our emotional bank accounts operate in different currencies.

We all need to be loved differently. There are five languages of love: Words, touch, deeds, time and gifts. I explained all these in more detail in my blog of July 13th 2013 (It's still on the system – you can look it up; it's what I just did!)

My son and daughters need touch and verbal affirmations. A simple hug and a "well done; thank you," goes a long way.

My husband is more difficult as his languages are deeds and time. When I'm ill I have little energy to do anything for him; but if all I do is make him his packed lunch to take to work, he really appreciates it and feels loved. If I make the effort to sit on the sofa with him and watch a documentary he feels validated. That's a huge thing for me, as I would far, far, far rather be reading/writing/painting/drawing all by myself in my study/sanctuary. But I do it. It's a small thing to do and it means he feels loved.

Most of my friends seem to need me to just listen to them! That's pretty easy – and then I use them in these blogs (I always ask first – don't worry)

And if you don't know what your loved ones need to feel loved by you, then ask! You both might have to think about it, but at least it's something really worth thinking about.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Soulmansblue Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 12:51am

Hi Mary,

I know exactly where you're coming from. It's so easy to take when we are at our worst and so difficult to give because we feel so down and all we want to do as you said is withdraw to our own private space.

Mine is my computer and I can become absorbed in that. I hear and I see nothing but the sound and visuals of the computer. It is my distraction from the world of bad thoughts and desires that if I listened and allowed myself would devastate my family and close friends.

I have spent £1000s on my computer and all the things that I use to feed its appetite. I have cameras for video and photography, I have recording equipment for audio and all the software required to edit, mix it, shake it all about.

All of this occupies my time each day and night. I'm divorced and live on my own so I lock myself away desperately trying to distract myself from the outside world and it's influences.

I help others when I can and I'm available day or night if a friend ever needs to talk. So in my own way I try to give back to those who are there for me. My family are and always have been there for me even during the darkest hours.

To give is the best thing that anyone can do, especially when you are meeting a need for someone else. That is the hardest part to actually meet a need, rather than to just do something.

You give to your husband as best you can and I am sure he knows that. When you sit with him he knows that because of your health it is difficult for you and he appreciates all the little things that you do. Even the little things are huge achievements for sufferers and you must congratulate yourself on doing the things that you do.

Talking with your friends you say is easy, but they get a very understanding and sympathetic ear when you listen to them. They realise this and value the time you take to sit with them and listen and no doubt your feedback as well.

Take Care and look after yourself and continue to do what you can, whenever you feel strong enough. Your family know that you love them, always remember that and try to hold onto that thought!

Anna Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 7:11am

Oh Mary I love this! I have never heard the five languages of love before but it makes so much sense. I think what you're describing is emotional intelligence. It has really made me think about myself and those I love. I also thought to myself that as well as ways people like to be loved, we also naturally lean towards our own style of loving, even if it doesn't quite fit the person. I know that, for instance, my default way of loving is deeds and gifts. Sometimes words, but we English can be far too reticent in that department sometimes and I will only use words of love with friends I know won't cringe. Your blog has really clarified a lot for me and helped me see how I can still go on giving whilst debilitated by depression (which luckily I'm not right now). Thank you.

Hopeful One Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 7:36am

Hi Mary - oh my word you are a profound thinker ! Thank you for introducing to me to the five languages of love which I guess I was aware of but never gave much thought . Your blog is very relevant to me having just fallen in love with a wonderful loving being ! I will have to ponder on them and see how I can be loving and hopefully loved in return without discharging the emotional batteries though misuse or disuse but never, I trust ,abuse .

Norman Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 8:54am

Dear HO: I look forward to you changing your username to "Fulfilled One..."

danielle Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 10:45am

Hi Mary I have been looking forward to this blog since I commented on the blog Lex wrote (the one you mentioned) as I often feel 'in debt' to my partner and both you and Lex recommended we revisit the 5 languages. We did! we both did the quiz which is on their website. Synical OH (he admits this himself) wasnt sure how accurate it was and I agree, but the quiz said (and I probably agree) that my top language is acts of service closely followed by quality time, gifts being bottom. OH top was quality time, followed by touch, with gifts at the bottom. I think for me quality time and acts of service are rather equal and i love it when OH does nice things for me like the hoovering before I get home or cooking dinner etc, he has done this increasingly more since my illness started and now does 80% of housework and cooking. He jokes that I am a 'kept woman' but I can sometimes be sensitive and feel extremely bad that I cannot do more. Now that I know his top languages are quality time and touch I will make extra efforts here. I think for him quality time is that - no phones etc (its easy for us to both sit in the eve watching tv me doing crochet and him surfing the web but is this 'quality time'?) and I will make the extra effort to touch even if just a cuddle or holding hands. thank you Mary and Lex for your blogs they have helped so much xxxx

Mary Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 11:00am

So pleased to have helped!

danielle Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 10:47am

In addition, we very rarely fall out, never argue, I think we almost had 1 argument during the purchase of our first house. we have been together three years and often say how easy it is and we just get on, we dont need to try hard to get on. maybe this is because our languages are similar? xxx

the room above the garage Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 11:01am

Hello Mary, this has sent me into a spin off blog in my head...actually not a blog, but thoughts that need revisited. You've written this just beautifully! I understand needing to love in different ways but hadn't thought there were so many. Love today's post very much indeed, and I thank you xxx.

Melanie Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 2:40pm

Great blog Mary! Thank you very much! xoxo

The Gardener Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 4:47pm

In theory I do much more 'taking' than giving, being in need of cheerful communication in a situation where I am 'numb' to feelings. Mr G, for two years, has thought of nothing but his personal comfort. As it gets dark he starts on about the lights, heating or both - that goes on the whole evening if I let it. It is now obvious that Alzheimer sufferers, besides being in a near permanent state of anxiety, really change and go back to childhood at night - real fear of the dark. All I can do is try and reassure him that he is quite safe, I am still capable (or kid myself that I am) of dealing with him and the security of the house. But I am positive he has had no confidence in me for a long time - yet when he is with others he asks for me the whole time. Three of our children have become much closer since our 'troubles'. We've all been 'huggers' since we moved to France - they took to French ways straight away - at whatever level, daily hand-shake, 2/3/4 kisses depending on custom (no rules). But two are estranged - one for four years, another for 4 months (always a difficult relationship due to alcohol and depression). The other is a permanent sadness - she never accepted her adoption - and seems to blame us for adopting her. As she is mixed race she would probably have gone into care - in the 60's adoptive parents for these children were not easy to find. Her sister is fine - her only curiosity was if her natural mother had married and had children, what would her half-siblings look like? All I can do is keep in touch - assure the two they are still loved, and that we are always there for them. I suffer dreadfully for their unhappiness, because due to their intolerance they are always breaking relationships with ensuing sadness and 'picking up the bits'. The adopted daughter used to phone and cry for hours when she was unhappy - no longer - Mr G says 'good riddance' which has not helped our relationship very much. He likes the attention of the kids but his upbringing did not include being demonstrative. But I am less 'numb' than I think, a very old friend phoned last night and said 'you're better', purely my voice had changed since the end of last year - very telling, particularly on the phone.

danielle Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 8:01am

TG I work for a french company and love the french way - when colleagues come from france it is kisses all around, they are much friendlier in general than british I find, and also seem less hierarchical - the french senior staff are much more interested in junior staff, whereas british seniors have an air of importance about them sometimes. I am sorry about your daughter, hopefully she can find peace one day. you are a wonderful human and i love hearing your stories xxx

The Gardener Thu, Jan 14th 2016 @ 9:03pm

Brief re-read of postings - lovely that Danielle is happy - most interesting her questioning what is 'quality time'. I would count it as being able to live in companionable silence. We had super Australian friends - spent days together - never a cross word - somehow or other if some of us wanted a rest of sink into our books the others would understand. Our marriage has been one of huge 'achievements' family, business, travel, doing up houses, moving countries. Crunch now, apart from Alzheimers is that Mr G never had a hobby or a close friend - means that for the last few years he has been totally lost if unable to join in with me, while I have had the incredible luck to fall on more and more interesting projects and people. I struggle with guilt at being so lucky - but also know that I 'use' my 'luck' outwardly to achieve the best life possible for us. Not much, but a huge effort.

danielle Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 8:02am

Yes I do know what you mean TG and we often happily sit doing our own thing but I do see OH appeciates it onces in a while when we take the time to be with each other with no distractions etc xxx

LillyPet Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 12:01am

Hi Mary,
Probably too late to comment! Thanks for a great blog. I show love by being thoughtfuland giving what seems needed. Sometimes I am too giving and can be too much I think. I'll try to remember the love smart idea. LP xx

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