Thank you for the bracelet. It sparkles in the light.
Thank you for the stroll beneath the moon so full and bright.
Thank you for embracing me as I shivered in the breeze.
Thank you for picking blossoms from the tall magnolia trees.
Although you seem to care for me, my heart is longing still
For you to look me in the eyes and tell me how you feel.
“Talk is cheap…,” said no Words of Affirmation person ever. Words matter. Words connect. Words bring healing. Words carry great weight. Words communicate love.
If your special someone speaks words of affirmation, you have a large but rewarding job ahead of you. It will not take extreme amounts of time or physical energy, but it will require you to pay attention and to be consistent. Consistency is key in all of the love languages.
The energy it takes to fulfill a words of affirmation person is emotional energy. For some, spouting compliments and reassuring words is second nature. I consider myself to be one of these people, at least in situations where I feel comfortable. With people I know and love, it does not tax my emotional reserves to throw out some “atta boys” and “great jobs!” I rather enjoy lifting spirits and, until recently, had little compassion for those who are more reserved with their comments.
What I have since realized is that some people have a small reservoir of “nurture” water. They can pour out all they have onto their loved ones and it still only feel like a small drop. Understandably, this is quite frustrating for those who need words and for those who are expected to give them. Eric has a large pool of physical touch water. He is always available for a hug, but he does not always remember to speak loving words. Since affirming others does not come naturally to him, he has to make an intentional effort.
If you are a words of affirmation speaker and your boyfriend or girlfriend is not, try to have compassion and show appreciation for his or her attempts; and, when he or she does compliment you, receive the compliment! If you argue the validity of his or her kind words, (e.g., you are beautiful, you are intelligent, you are a good cook, etc.), it will cause frustration and discourage him or her from trying again.
Words of affirmation people: You may have an abundance of affirming words to give to others; however, if your partner does not have such an abundance, it is important to remember to cherish the affirming words he or she does give you (and not discard them waiting for the “right” words to come along). Savor the ones you receive with glee.
If you do not have much words nurture to pour out, never fear. You can expand your reservoir over time and use the suggestions below to help you learn the affirmation language. Your relationship will surely thank you if you experiment with these ideas!
- Eye-to-eye compliments – Even if you have to write “give affirmation” in your calendar, make a point to look your love in the face at least once a week (preferably more as time goes on) and give him or her a sincere compliment. Offer thanks for the specific ways he or she brightens your life. Be encouraging. It may feel unnatural at first, but be assured it is flooding his or her heart with much-needed rain. All that matters is that you are sincere and honest.
- Encouraging e-mails – Love mail is the best! You are sitting at your desk, minding your own business, when suddenly you see the words, “I love you,” or “I’m so thankful for you!” pop into your inbox. What an instant mood booster! It does not take long to send a quick note, even if just to say, “You are on my mind!” This is a thirty-second investment with a huge emotional return.
- Surprise cards – If e-mails make your sweetie’s day, imagine what a bright, shiny card will do! Pick out a sweet card at Hallmark or anywhere that sells pretty cards, write a short note (or pick a card that says exactly what you want to convey), and mail it off! It will make his or her day, if not week! The words you write in a card may mean more to him or her than the gift which accompanies the card!
- Hidden notes of love and validation – This is fun. Hide and seek: words of affirmation edition. Write about twenty love notes (encouragement notes, thinking of you notes, etc.) on a sheet of paper and cut them into small strips. Put one in his lunch bag. Put one on her dashboard. Place them in random places all over his or her home, car, and office.
- Writing a book for your love – Keep a diary for your special someone. Write about your dates, how you feel, and all the ways your lady or gentlemen brightens your life. When your diary is full, give it to him or her as a gift. You can make it a generalized diary or a diary specifically dedicated to one topic (e.g., our dates, new lessons I learned about my love, ways my sweetie blesses my soul, etc.).
- Bragging on your boyfriend or girlfriend in front of others – Kind words mean a lot, but if your boyfriend or girlfriend feels like an embarrassment to you in front of your friends, nothing you say in private will make up for it. (Nothing.) When you are with your friends, mention something your sweetie has accomplished or compliment him or her. “Stacy has been working with an extremely difficult client, but she rocked it!” “Jared, you have been killing it at the gym and it really shows.” Be careful not to overdo it. The idea is to drop in a few subtle words of encouragement without making your dinner companions gag. ~smile~
- Noticing your significant other’s accomplishments and praising him or her for them without being asked – When I was fifteen, I repeatedly hinted to a male friend that I wanted him to notice something praiseworthy about me. He often responded by saying, “You are fishing for compliments.” His insult hurt my heart as if he was accusing me of being haughty and full of myself, but now I realize I was probably looking for affirmation and it did not come easily to him. Live and learn! Those who appreciate words of affirmation will often nudge their romantic partners for encouragement and reassurance. When they accomplish something, they mention it to their loved one in an attempt to elicit a validating response (“atta boy”, “atta girl”). Even the simplest, “Good job!” fills their hearts with joy. ~smile~ But, even better than receiving praise when it is requested is receiving praise before it is requested! Unexpected recognition means the world to a verbal affirmation person!
If I, a quality time person, am so blessed by uplifting words, I can only imagine how important words are to those who primarily speak words of affirmation. It really does not take much to turn their gloomy days into rainbows and smiles.
- You are so beautiful to me.
- I am not sure what I would do without you in my life.
- You make the best chicken parmesan in the world. I thought about it all day today.
- Thank you so much for your help with my presentation.
- You made the project run smoothly for me.
- You are so strong.
- I admire you.
Hopefully, the ideas above will help you get started on a path to greater emotional intimacy with your sweetheart. If speaking this way is difficult now, I assure you it will get easier with practice; and, not only will speaking words of affirmation bless your romantic relationship, but it will bless all of your relationships. Your employees, family members, friends, neighbors – all these relationships can be enhanced by kindness and expressed gratitude!
Happy complimenting and encouraging!
What does your sweetie desperately need to hear from you?