I’m landing in Indonesia, coming straight from Central America. The last few hours before this 35-hour trip have been completely crazy and the whole journey hasn’t been less hectic: i’m still trying to catch my breath when I reach destination.

I exit the arrivals door with my heavy as hell bags, the humidity hits me hard, the same way it does when you enter a sweat lodge, i’m instantly dripping. I lift my eyes see my name handwritten on a colourful paper; there is a driver waiting for me with a bright smile.

-Hello, miss Drolet, I’m Putu, you friend with Aylin ?

-Hi! Yes! I’m happy to see you.

Bagus, let me take your bags, car this way.

Putu already knows where he has to take me, all I have to do is sit back and relax. When we get there, A. is waiting for me. She has made space in her room for me, has already arranged a motorbike for the month and gotten me a local SIM card for my phone. I’m being taken care of, and it feels like the most loving thing one has ever done for me.

I’m not sure how to say this without sounding cold hearted, but I used not to care much about others… Not because I didn’t give a fuck— I do give many fucks!— but I used to (and still tend to) think that people just didn’t need me. Therefore, I didn’t know how to be in service. I didn’t know how to facilitate other people’s life, how to speak their love language.

In the past, I know my parents have been unconditionally taking care of me. But I took their love and help for granted and never truly acknowledge how much they were doing for me. Anytime of the day or night, I knew they would be there if I needed it. I just thought that was what parents do, it was their obligation…

I left the nest, started travelling by myself, and taking care of my own ass.

I’ve never had a long-term love partner and therefore never really learned how to think for two. Until I met some friends, like Aylin, that started seriously showing me how to love, by taking me under their wings and going out of their way to make sure I was happy and well.

I strangely felt destabilized.

Confused, I asked myself: why are they doing this? How do I deserve such good treatments? Can I trust them or does it come with a hidden price to pay later? And mostly: How can I equally give back to them or go ahead and show how much I care too?

By receiving all this love and support from someone that wasn’t obligated to love me, who was doing it by choice and from a place of genuine good intention, things started to shift; I realized how much I needed others, and how, perhaps, others needed me too. Individualism is not the way to survival. We all need to love and feel love. More than we think, and definitely more than we admit.

The fun part is that there is various ways to speak lovingly to others and Gary Chapman wrote a book —that I highly suggest you look into — called ‘The 5 love languages’.

1.  Loving touch

2. Words of affirmation

3. Quality time

4. Gifts

5. Acts of Service

The idea is that we naturally all have preferred ways in which we like to receive and give love.

It is not true that all women like to receive luxurious rings (gift). Some prefer to spend the week-end together in a wooden cabin (quality time). Some like to be reinsured with praised and compliments (words of affirmation), others prefer to have their hand held in silence (loving touch), and some will love you endlessly for helping them put their kitchen table together (act of service).

I am still exploring those concepts, and learning what is the favorite language of my closest friends and relatives. But what I know is that I’m now taking great pleasure in seeing those people feel loved.

I got my parents house professionally cleaned while they were away to thank them for letting me stay for a few days.

I took my friend to the spa and offered her a one hour massage because I knew she was going through a rough time and need to get lovingly touched.

I hid a birthday present in my friend’s suitcase for her to find only on the special day because I knew I wouldn’t be physically there to celebrate her 30th.

I bring coffee to bed as often as I can to my roommate because I know life just doesn’t start for her before coffee.

I got the photos of a recent family trip printed and mailed to my dad’s because he doesn’t have an Iphone and still has no clue how to deal with digital pictures.

Sometimes love is sending a song to someone saying: this made me think of you.

Sometimes love is opening the door to a stranger while pulling out your warmest smile.

Sometimes love is offering your mother to drive her to the doctor.

Sometimes love is buying someone a cactus before leaving so they know you are always ‘living with them’.

Sometimes love is letting your sister use your most expensive beauty products.

Sometimes love is having your friend lay her head on your lap and place your hand over her forehead until she falls asleep.

And in between all of these, love is complimenting people genuinely. 

Let your people know that you care about them.

And as I’m telling you, I’m also telling myself…: People need you, and you are lovable.


Originally published on Unsubscribe Magazine