I had an interesting conversation over dinner yesterday. I spoke with friends about family and relationships. It’s interesting how family shapes ones expression of love. One friend had a lot in common with my family in terms of not showing physical affection. My family wasn’t very caressing and rarely spoke the words “I love you”.
This didn’t mean we didn’t love each other. It was just shown in different ways, such as trying to make sure we were well fed, our needs were met and showing us different cultures. My love for travel definitely came from my family.
In relationships I rarely gave affectionate touches. I remember boyfriends saying they didn’t know how I felt about them, and I thought to myself “How could they not know?”. I showed my love in different ways. I wasn’t touchy-feely or verbally expressive. Some people need to be touched, some people need to hear the words, some need physical assurance, some need intellectual stimulation. Nothing is necessarily better than the other, but we just have to understand what we need as well as what our partners need.
Moving to Brazil and getting a cat helped me to be a bit more physically affectionate as the culture here is much more physical. I have met friends who openly say I love you to each other. I have always been more action oriented, as sometimes people can say they love you but their actions show otherwise. In the same way people can show they love you and not say it. The latter was my case. Since being in Brazil, I definitely say I love you more and it feels good to express that verbally.
Now I have the best of both worlds. I verbally and physically express myself more as well as carry out the actions. This can make one feel very vulnerable, but I see that I haven’t been hurt. I can’t get hurt when I am true to myself and my feelings. When I am in touch with myself and feelings I will know whom to share them with.
Frida, my cat is very affectionate and comes to me to show her affection. At first I didn’t know what to do, but in watching others with her or their cats I learned. I now always rub on her and kiss her and tell her I love her. I see how she needs this and melts when I am affectionate. I am forever grateful to the teachings of my friends, family and my cat for showing me how to love.
In whichever boat you are in just be true to yourself and your feelings and everything else will flow.
Renee Adolphe / Prandhara Prem
ReneeAdolphe (at) Gmail.com
PS. Please be sure to leave any questions or comments at the bottom. I would love to hear and learn from you! I feel we are all teachers and students in this life.