Dr. Gary Chapman developed the concept of love languages more than 25 years ago through his work with couples. He began to see that people express and receive love within categories, and that framing their interactions through these categories helped them to understand and connect in a much deeper way with each other.
The five love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
If you’ve been reading my writings, you know by now that I believe strongly that in order to live with fulfillment and purpose, we have to look at our relationship with our Self, and the way in which we can connect with, honor, and love who we are. From there, life can be rich and representative of our true purpose and power.
So … naturally, I want to explore how these love languages can be applied to our relationship with our Self!
First step? Visit www.5lovelanguages.com and take the quiz that most accurately represents your current status (couple, single, military, teen). It will take no more than 5 minutes and it’s free.
A few things to note:
- Your results will be offered in terms of percentages. You may find a significantly dominant language, or you may find your results are evenly distributed between a few. All of that is ok! Get curious!
- If you’ve taken this quiz before, I encourage you to take it again. Your love languages can evolve and shift over time as you become more aware of your needs, your boundaries, and your Self.
From here, you have the opportunity to apply this information not only to your relationships with others, but also to how you connect with and treat your Self. I put together some ideas for how to do this, and want to share them with you below.
Words of Affirmation
This love language is about more than hearing, “I love you.” It’s the support and empathy that are delivered within loving communication.
So, saying something like, “I want you to know how proud I am of you. I see how hard you work to provide for our family,” is what we are talking about here. These words offer validation, connection and care.
The goal of offering words of affirmation to your Self, then, would be to offer empathy and support as you speak with kindness.
Some practical ways you can do this:
- Journal and be specific about your strengths, victories, and positive attributes
- Complete this sentence: I am …, I can …, I will …, I do …
- Think of a compliment you receive from others and say it to yourself
- Practice gratitude for something you did at the end of the day
- Write a letter of recommendation for YOU
- Practice positive self-talk
If physical touch is your primary love language, you feel love more deeply when it is shown physically than in any other way. This is not all about sex, though that’s part of it. This is about the closeness and intimacy that results from physical expressions of caring, nurturing, and safety.
Here are some ideas for how physical touch can offer you a sense of internal connection and care:
- Engage in self-care that involves your body, like lotions or spa treatments or exercise
- Take a moment to (safely) sit in the sun and feel its warmth on your skin
- Use a weighted blanket
- Cuddle your pet
- Stretch regularly
- Explore using ASMR recordings for relaxation
Do something every day that is loving toward your body and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sensations of your body.– Golda Poretsky
This love language does not have to do with wanting things. Instead, it’s about the meaning behind the gift, which for people who use this love language translates into, “I was thinking about you when I saw this.”
So, it’s the connection and the care, the thoughtfulness the gift represents, rather than the object itself. It could be a new car or a heart shaped rock picked up on a roadside; it’s about the connection represented by the thoughtfulness.
As you consider how to be thoughtful of your Self through gift giving, I have some ideas:
- Indulge in a small treat, like special coffee or a bouquet of your favorite flowers
- Save for something you truly want, like a trip
- Invest in your education
- Set up something you’ve always wanted to do, a bucket list item like sky diving or getting a tattoo
Some tips as you use this love language, though:
- Remember, this is about thoughtfulness, so the idea here is to tune into your Self as you choose a gift. Take time to consider the things you like, you enjoy doing, you care about … and gift from that awareness.
- Consider why you’re buying (choose from love, not fear or stress).
- Never buy beyond your means.
- Savor the gift you’ve chosen and notice how it makes you feel.
If you value quality time with others, you likely want your partner to engage with you, to offer their undivided attention when you are together, and to ensure the two of you are fully present with each other.
This can be a little tricky to apply to your relationship with your Self, because we are always with our Self, right?
But do we always pay attention to our Self? This love language uses quality time for connection. It means that you will engage and connect with you on purpose.
Here are some ideas for how to do just that:
- Set your screens aside for 30 minutes each day to just be quiet
- Learn something new that is purely for you
- Take yourself out for a date
- Read or meditate
- Cook a new recipe and enjoy your results
- Make a new playlist and listen while you head out for a solitary stroll
Acts of Service
This one is my dominant love language! I feel so loved when others do little things that make my life easier (like grabbing my prescription from the grocery store since they are passing by or changing the lightbulbs I can’t reach).
Applying this idea to you means that you’ll take the time to do things that make your life easier; in doing so you will make your Self feel valued, loved, and nurtured.
Here are some things I’ve done:
- Set up automatic bill payments online
- Cleaned out my desk
- Planned for take-out dinner one night/week
- Set out my water for the day the night before
- Organized carpools to lighten the driving load
- Set up self-care appointments (dentist, haircut) at the existing appointment
There is so much value in taking time to connect with our Self. When we purposefully engage in doing so, we are showing our own Self our worth. We get to say, “I want to know you and love you and show you how much I care!” Isn’t that great? Doesn’t that make you want to hang out with your Self?
We also get to discover what makes us magic and unique, and we develop even more into the person we are meant to be. Knowing the way we give and receive love is useful information; applying this love to our Self is an investment in our own development.
So, go ahead and take that quiz! If you have any thoughts, please add a comment. And as always, I welcome you to my website at www.powerplacepurpose.com if you want to learn more about me and what I do with all of this important stuff!