One of the areas that has been a source of conflict in the twenty-three years I have known my husband is how we communicate with each other. Several years ago I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which explained how we each give and receive love in different ways. I learned that is very common for people to show love for others in the way that they want to receive it.
My husband and I do not speak the same love language which came as no surprise to me. My love language is quality time. This means giving your partner your undivided attention. Gary says spending time together watching TV doesn’t count, because then the TV has your attention, not your spouse. My husband’s love language is words of affirmation. This means using words to build up your partner and being careful not to use words to knock them down.
My husband thought when he complimented me on something I had done or thanked me for making dinner, he was showing me that he loved me because that is how he felt the most loved. At the same time I didn’t realize that he couldn’t understand that watching television together at the end of the day was not my definition of spending time together. The book was a real eye opener for us.
As I have been reading The Happiness Dare I have learned that people experience happiness in different ways as well. Having already learned about love languages this didn’t surprise me, yet at the same time it did. I learned that we each have a happiness style which determines how we experience happiness. After taking a short quiz that can be found on the Happiness Dare website (I swear it’s short, like less than five minutes short), I learned that I am a doer. I experience happiness most when I am doing things. Well, no one who knows me was surprised by this. My husband, however, is a thinker. He experiences happiness when he is learning or engrossed in a good book, or discovering how something works. By recognizing that we have different happiness styles we can choose activities to do with each other that capitalize on each of our styles, such as going to living history museum like the Fort at No. 4 where his style is engaged with the learning and my style is engaged with the doing.
One of the ways I practice happiness on a daily basis is by counting gifts, or my blessings, or however you want to label it. I started this practice several years ago after reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I found that even on the hardest days focusing on the good gave me an active way to engage in being happy. I keep an entire journal dedicated to this practice. It lists each item by number, and originally my goal was to get to one thousand. Once I hit that goal I found that that I wanted to keep going. Focusing on what was good in each day became a routine that brought me great joy.
When I started Bullet Journaling, I found that I enjoyed highlighting three things I was grateful for each day. These things are still logged into my gratitude journal, along with other things. Because they are dated, I can reflect back on certain days or specific memories, which is better than just a numbered list, and I like that feature. For this reason, I do not find having two seperate lists redundant.
One thing I am incorporating for July, after taking the Happiness Style quiz, is to be intentional with my daily self care practice. At the start of each week I do some planning and I leave space for daily self care, which is something I agreed with my therapist I would do. At the end of the day I go back and fill in what I did. The problem with this plan is that most days I don’t actually take time for myself. I will consider the few minutes of reading I do during my morning routine good enough, or the few minutes I spent sitting with the dog after work to be time well spent.
As a doer I realized I need to plan my self care activities ahead of time. This way I can write them into my daily task list, make sure they get done, and then check them off. I created a page in my Bullet Journal that lists activities I can do in a short amount of time and activities I can do in a longer amount of time. I left space under each category so that I can go back and add in more as I think of them.
I hoping that this will allow me to actually take time for myself, which will increase my happiness.
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