Love Languages & Memes

I have various love languages with my boys. Sometimes, they’re shared activities. Sometimes (often) it’s about food or our shared love (bordering on obsession) of dogs. With my son Will, an endearing part of our love language has to do with memes. Will will frequently send me a meme which is reliably hilarious. More importantly, it tells me that he’s thinking of me and that he understands and respects things that are important to me and that I find amusing. There’s also often an undercurrent of gentle teasing, which is a lovely form of affection.

I like to reflect on and share these insights of various love languages, particularly with my friends who have adult children. The relationships with our children change and evolve, and we need to make room for others in their lives. Chatting with a friend recently, I asked her what shared interests she had with her adult son. “Can you focus on those shared interests and perhaps give the career counselling a bit of a break?” I suggested in a bossy way that strong friendships can endure (xo). It can be so tough as a parent to know when to implement the full-court press and when to sit quietly in the stands. When we’re taking a back seat, we don’t have to stop demonstrating our love (except maybe sharing their infamous childhood “bathtub” photos on social media *wink*), we can let them know they are on our mind with sweet messages relating to interests we both share.

As I was reflecting on this earlier today, the “meme” part had me following another path. A popular meme, particularly in self-help camps is:

“If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a [blank] no!”
I know the intent of this advice is meant to be empowering and encouraging. The trouble with it, in my humble opinion, is that it has the potential to erode relationships. I’m a firm believer that, for the people in my life, the following is true: “If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.” (Do Pokemon cards come to mind for any parents of twenty-somethings out there?) There are times we need to bend, flex and stretch for others in our lives, and it’s not always going to be something we’re eager to do, but we do it because we care deeply.

This approach isn’t just for relationships, but for other important aspects of our lives. Every career has elements and tasks involved that don’t always elicit a “hell yes”, but we recognize that they’re an essential piece of a much larger puzzle. I may not gleefully shout out “hell yes” when I see a discarded wrapper or soda pop can while out on the trail, but I pick it up because it’s important for the community at large.

Very few actions are neutral. They’re either building something or eroding something. If we hold firm to the idea that everything should be a “hell yes”, we may erode the very things that mean the most to us, and that would be such a shame.

On that note, my phone just pinged, and I’ve got a hilarious dog video to view, which, for me, is always a “hell yes”!

Once again, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation for your presence in the Kind Living community.

Warmest regards,