Have you heard of, or read, the book, The Five Love Languages?” The famous work by Gary Chapman outlines the concept of five general ways that romantic partners express and experience love. That was the original context. But I am going to talk about applying the five love languages to yourself!
The concept, which was groundbreaking in 1992, suggested that each of us is prone to feel most loved by one or a combination of these “languages,” and we tend to express our love for our partner in the same way we prefer to receive it.
The five love languages are:
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
The concept has since been expanded to include our relationships in other areas of life, such as with children, co-workers, etc.
To distill it down to one sentence, relationships thrive best when we know how to best love each other in the way that is most meaningful to the recipient.
But how about applying the five love languages to yourself? I want to talk to you about how we love ourselves.
Have you ever gotten into a mode where you forget to love and care for yourself because you are too busy meeting the needs of those most important to you? For all my lady friends and fellow moms, the answer is likely a resounding, “YES!”
So what do we do about it?
I’m glad you asked! I have a few ideas. 🙂
As I’m going through this season of transition that I’ve written about before, here are some things I’ve thought about that can help me – and hopefully, you, to love yourself.
Once you’ve identified your love language, don’t be shy about telling those closest to you what it is, and giving specific examples of how they can support you.
E.g., your language is words of affirmation. You can say, “It would really mean a lot to me if you would tell me or write me a note telling me what you appreciate about me.”
If your love language is quality time? “You know what I would really appreciate? If we could take time once a week to (insert an activity that is valuable to you). Phones out of sight, just us doing X.”
Does saying no terrify you? It doesn’t always come easy, but it is a skill that can be learned. It takes some work and practice to get there. It involves figuring out what you want, what you won’t accept, and having the courage to refuse the latter. (We happen to champion courage around here. 🙂)
For a solid read on the subject, the book, “Boundaries,” is good.
Empathetic types often sacrifice their needs and comfort for those around them. That is not inherently wrong. In fact, Christians and other people of faith are called to live and love sacrificially. (See Romans 12:1-2)
But that doesn’t mean that we should neglect ourselves. On the contrary, many have wisely suggested that we have to “fill our cup” so we have something to share with others. A metaphorical empty cup can’t bless anyone!
That is the worthy challenge before us each day. How do we care for those entrusted to us while remembering to honor our needs too? I think remembering is a big part of the battle.
I was inspired to write about applying the five love languages to yourself because of where I am in life right now and where many people I know are. We live in an ever-increasing world of fragmentation and selfishness, but we needn’t let that affect how we live.
Let us love one another well, and remember to love ourselves well in the process!
Thank you for reading! I’d be curious to know what YOUR love language is. Let me know in a comment!