The Five Love Languages: How To Care For Yourself Using Your Own Love Language
If you’ve ever come across love or dating related social media pages, you might have heard of the term and concept of the “love languages”. Originating from Gary Chapman's 1992 book, The Five Love Languages, his book details the five ways people tend to communicate and receive love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
Everyone’s different, and every person’s way of showing love is different. According to Chapman, by understanding our own love language as well as our partner’s, we’re able to communicate more efficiently with our significant other after understanding the type of love they are the most reciprocate to.
While forming better relationships with others is important, our relationships with ourselves is often overlooked. No matter if you’re in a relationship or if you’re living the single life, practicing self-care is essential for your mental health.
Why is it important to practice self-care?
“I am such an advocate with the saying we must be 'selfish to be selfless',” says Bobbie Poulton, “If we do not truly learn how to look after ourselves, how can we expect to show up and look after those we love and care about? When we are unable to show up from a place of love for ourselves, we are unable to be authentic in who we really are with the world around us.”
“Knowing your self-care language is so important if you want to improve your relationship with yourself,” adds Nathalie Sommer.
“Your mind and your body pick up on your thoughts and how you treat yourself. The more you introduce kind and loving acts to yourself, the more integrity and trust you will gain with yourself. You are the most important person in your life [even though] it’s sometimes easy to forget or to prioritise,” she says.
What can we learn about ourselves through our love languages?
“Once you know how you like to receive love, you have the power to start practicing showing that love to yourself, which is what the self-care practice will be all about! Intentionally work activities into your routine that give you time to show yourself love and compassion in the way that you like to receive it most,” says Sommer.
Words Of Affirmation
Poulton and Sommer both stress the importance of using words or daily affirmations to build yourself up.
“The most powerful words we can use to change our reality are the words 'I am'.
‘I am’ brings you authentic power, allowing your words to affirm what you already believe to be true even if you are struggling to experience it,” explains Poulton.
For someone whose love language is words of affirmation, Poulton suggests using daily journaling prompts that start with “I am”, “I can” and “I will” to self-affirm your beliefs and build up a journaling routine.
See also: 5 Tips On How To Open Up About Your Mental Health
“This is personally my favourite,” says Poulton, “Quality time with ourselves can seem like an odd concept. How often do you plan a date night for one? I do all the time. I call them relationship retreats––with myself. Imagine clearing your schedule and planning a 2 day weekend with all your favourite self-care and personal development activities.”
“Make time for yourself to just be or set time aside to do something that’s nourishing and to help slow down,” explains Sommer––suggesting activities as simple as relaxing and resting, meditation, yoga, reading a book, going on a walk, dancing or even just enjoying a nice meal by yourself.
"Buying gifts for ourselves may seem like the best and easy option for some", says Poulton. However, shopping for gifts for ourselves can be more than just your usual shopping trip. While you’re shopping, Poulton suggests asking ourselves the following questions: What do I want vs what do I need? Am I buying myself something from a place of love or a place of fear? Is this gift to distract me from poor behaviour or bad choices I have been making?
Impulsive shopping may be rewarding for a short period of time, but mindful shopping can lead you to purchasing gifts that keep on giving.
See also: 6 Self-Care Tips From Lupita Nyong'o
Acts Of Service
“Acts of service allows us to act in a way that feels of service,” explains Poulton.
Sommer recommends doing things that help you feel organised and serve your wellbeing such as scheduling your week, creating self-awareness, cooking delicious food that you enjoy and cleaning your space.
To further assist yourself with your daily life, Poulton suggests asking yourself this question: What can I do to be of service to myself right now? What tasks have I been putting off? What tasks do I need to do that will help me become more productive? What jobs am I aware of that will provide me with pleasure once they are completed?
“A daily pleasure routine consisted of bath times, bedtime candles and reading or a personal shower massage are always booked on my calendar,” says Poulton.
“Discover what touch we like on yourself and give yourself that touch and do the things that make you feel good in your body,” adds Sommer.
From treating yourself to a massage, going to the spa, doing a self-pampering routine at home, stretching or using a foam roller, caring for your body is a great way to show love to yourself if your love language is physical touch.