I lost my appetite.
And I don’t mean for a meal, or a few hours, or a day, or even a week.
I legitimately was NOT hungry for almost a full month.
I forced myself to eat, here and there, because I knew that I needed to eat to stay healthy.
But food tasted wrong to me, even my favorite meals felt foreign and I had to choke them down.
Then one day, it was like a switch flipped, and suddenly I was back to normal.
It took a while to figure out what had happened, but eventually I connected the dots and I realized it was love.
The day I lost my appetite was not a happy day for me.
My marriage was going through a particularly rough spot, and I felt disconnected from my children as well.
And the day I got my appetite back was the day that someone went out of their way to make me feel loved.
Now, my situation was a bit extreme. But it got me thinking.
What if food was love?
Not literally, of course, but stay with me here.
We need food to survive. Everyone knows this.
We need love to thrive. Most people agree with this and yet plenty of people are walking around with very little love in their life. I know, because I used to be one of them.
So what would the world be like if, instead of eating, we relied on our loved ones’ smiles, hugs, kisses, and kind words to survive? How many people- how many children -would be malnourished? How many would starve to death?
Take a moment and consider your relationship(s) with your child(ren).
Are they shown love daily?
Take a moment and consider your relationships with your spouse, your parents, your siblings, your friends.
Are they shown love? Do your children see adults behaving lovingly towards one another every day?
Keep in mind, many people express and understand love differently than their children and/or their spouse do.
Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Children are a best selling books because they has helped so many people understand and communicate more lovingly with their loved ones.
I think of my own two children and their love languages compared to mine.
My love language has always been words of affirmation, so its easy and natural for me to spend all day telling my children how fantastic and loved they are. But. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will feel loved if I do so.
LittleMan’s love language is split between gifts and quality time. Meaning he has two love languages and neither of them are the same as my own. So that of course doesn’t stop me from expressing my love via words of affirmation, however it does mean that I also need to make daily efforts to express love in ways he understands and relates to. Which is why I surprise him with small things from time to time and also why I turn off my phone and do things just with him. The little chocolate bar that I pick up at the store tells him that I was thinking of him when we were apart. The picture that I draw for him and slide under his door shows him that I care enough to make and give him things, just to make him smile. The one-on-one day trip to the zoo lets him know that he’s important to me. The daily morning cuddles before breakfast tell him that he is loved.
SunnyGirl’s love language is acts of service. Again, this doesn’t stop me from expressing my love via words of affirmation, however it does mean that I need to make daily efforts to express love in ways she understands and relates to. I listen when she says wants help with something – even if I know its something she can easily do on her own, because I know its her way of reaching out for love. I let her help me with things I really don’t need help with because I know that is her way of expressing love.
So take a minute, figure out what your child’s love language is, and ask yourself:
If food was love, would your child be going to bed hungry tonight?