My adult daughter is my biggest fan and my most loving critic. She has taught me that just because I do something that I think expresses love doesn’t mean the other person takes it in that way. I am not an expert at these “love languages” but I know the older I get, the more my efforts to show love tend to be pragmatic rather than symbolic, and I assume my efforts are being experienced by others as loving. I should check in to be sure.
I went through a strengths-finder professional development a few decades ago, and was struck by a workshop exercise in which participants listed ways they preferred to be acknowledged or appreciated – public or private, gift or cash, sweet or salty, flowers or plants, and so forth. I did this exercise with the teachers and staff this fall and can share responses with you for teacher appreciation week if you are interested. Send me an email.
My thought is that Valentine’s Day is a day for intentional, loving expressions, a chance to be inclusive, a chance to show others that we really care. I hope you are able to creatively come up with gestures, words, and actions that your loved ones are able to take in as love from you. Check in to be sure.