The Five Love Languages: Applied to Self
Perhaps you’ve heard of the five love languages first coined by Gary Chapman. The five love languages outline the ways we communicate love to others. Love languages can be applied to romantic partnerships, friendships, and family relationships. Yes, of course, relationships with others are important. But more important perhaps, is the relationship we have with ourselves. When we show ourselves acceptance and compassion we increase the quality and quantity of love within us. The love we show ourselves can enhance all areas of our lives. Now you may be wondering, what are the five languages of love and how can I apply them to the relationship I have with myself?
Words of Affirmation
The first love language is words of affirmation. We all have thoughts. These thoughts animate in our minds creating inner narratives. Our inner narrative is the script for how we speak to ourselves. When we talk to ourselves, we listen. We hear it. We reinforce it. We believe it. That’s why it’s important to deliberately select words that illicit the positive. Words of affirmations can be encouraging and empowering. As we recite these affirmations, either silently or aloud, we strengthen the quality of our inner narrative. You can practice words of affirmations with yourself daily. An example may be, “I am doing my best. I am human. I accept myself as I am.” It’s important that your affirmations feel genuine and ring true for you.
The second love language is quality time. Spending time with ourselves provides us with space for peace, reflection, creativity, and insight. You may live a busy life crowded with people, noise, stimulation, and demands, but even the busiest of people can afford to take some time for themselves. In fact, it’s often the busiest of people who need it the most. Alone time isn’t just numbing out by scrolling social media, or sitting on the toilet while mentally running through a to-do list. For alone time to be effective as a language of love, it needs to be quality alone time. Examples may include: deep breathing or 5 minutes of journaling in the morning, an intentional walk around the block after work, or a bubble bath on Sundays.
The third love language is gift-giving and receiving. This does not necessarily mean going out and buying yourself a material good. To give yourself a gift is to show your appreciation. Gift-giving is a way of saying, “Hey, I was thinking of you and I thought you might like this. I want you to have it because you matter to me.” We can get creative in this department. You may choose to give yourself the gift of time by saying no to something you don’t want to do. You may give yourself the gift of touch by letting your hair down and giving yourself a little scalp massage at the end of the day. You may even give yourself the gift of beauty by going into nature and admiring the colors of the landscapes or the fragrance of a wildflower.
Act of Service
The fourth love language is an act of service. In relationships with others, this implies that we do something nice for someone else. Maybe we bring in the garbage bins for our neighbors, pick up a coffee for an exhausted colleague, or help our children with their homework. The same kind of energy that is employed to help others can be accessed to help ourselves. Again, we can get creative: an act of service towards ourselves may mean delighting tasks such as asking the kids for help with laundry, or requesting that our partner take out the dog. Another act of service towards ourselves is to give ourselves permission to do less. To acknowledge when we’re tired and chose not to power through, but rather to rest—this is an act of service.
The fifth act of service is physical touch. Physical touch not only improves bonds, but it also strengthens our immune system, reduces diseases associated with our heart and blood, and even lowers blood pressure. We can communicate touch to ourselves by placing our hands on our bellies while we take deep breaths into the abdomen. We can apply a small amount of coconut oil to the soles of our feet and knead the oil through our arches for a little foot massage. We can also bring our first two fingers to our temples and draw slow little circles to release pressure from around the eyes. There is a myriad of ways to touch ourselves, and in doing so we express a language of love.
Gary Chapman’s intent in outlying the original five love languages was to help people bolster their relationships with others. Yet as we know, our relationship with ourselves is our primary relationship directly influencing the way we engage with the people and world around us. Applying the five love languages towards ourselves promotes balance and self-compassion while the advantages echo into all areas of our lives.
Kristen Riordan (Schneider) is an ayurveda practitioner, mental health counselor, 500RYT, author, and brand new mama! Kristen is passionate about self-compassion, and the practice of gratitude. She loves reading, the beach, and silly dad jokes. Her books, Your Life is Medicine: Ayurveda for Yogis and Love Fearlessly: The Soulmate Within are available at WellBlends.com and on Amazon. She lives in St Petersburg, Florida with her husband and daughter, Harper.
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