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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Recently I was introduced to a concept that really resonated with me. Whatley describes his philosophy* as the ‘Five Projections of Love’:

“The five projections of love are touch, time, words, actions and presents. Every single act of love can be defined by one of the above. We all like all five, all of us do… in varying ways. But on average, we each tend to favour two or three over the others…the thing about our favourite ways of projecting our love is that they also double up as our favourite ways of receiving love….”

And I thought back to the relationships I’ve had and realised that this often applied to them. When it worked out, it was because our projections matched each other; when it didn’t, it was because there was too much difference between them. Matching those projections with another is what melds the union; it’s something we all strive for, unconsciously or not.

I’ve always been of the belief that sex, relationships, love all work when each person involved wants the same things – from each other, and from the situation. I’m not sure if that’s always viable, but I think if we strive for openness in our wants and needs we’re more likely to end up in mutual equilibrium.

I’m fully aware, though, that I couldn’t be with someone for whom touch was unimportant, or wasn’t a way in which they expressed themselves; I need physical affection alongside a good sexual connection. I also would struggle to maintain intimacy with a person who was unable to voice, express, or otherwise articulate how they were feeling: words and dialogue are what ground me. I am lost without communication; I need to hear what someone wants and feels.

But Whatley’s idea is not just about being able to state what your wants are: it’s actually about recognising what another’s needs are – and altering how you interact with them to satisfy that/them:

“…keep an eye out for how they project their love [to you]. By doing something similar to/for them back you may make them feel the most loved person in the world.”

I guess that’s where the beauty of this philosophy lies, for me. At its heart is the simple idea that to be really happy, it involves making other people happy. And showing someone you love them, in the way that they need you to, is the most loving thing that you can do.

It’s not a profound concept, perhaps, but I think it’s poignant and worth remembering nevertheless.

EDIT: *Whatley's interpretation of other philosophies, one assumes.

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