The first time I really learned about the five love languages was a year after a big heartbreak in my early twenties, and since then I've found myself exploring the love languages of each of my subsequent partners in an effort to be a better lover to them. At the click of a simple quiz, you'll know whether words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts, or physical touch is the primary way you prefer to experience love.
When most people hear the phrase 'love languages', their first thought centers around how these five so-called languages fit into our romantic relationships. We can all think of a situation where misalignment of love languages, or inattention to them, lead to problems romantically and oftentimes failed partnerships.
What most people don't realize is that understanding your own love language is also important in understanding how you can love yourself. We get so caught up in considering someone else's love language in order to be a better partner to them, that we don't always use our own love language to practice self-love for ourselves. But how can you love someone else right if you aren't loving yourself?
Check out some practical ways to practice self-love and self-care based on your own specific love language.
1. Words of Affirmation
The premise of loving someone who enjoys words of affirmation is using language to affirm, encourage, and appreciate your partner, so this translates well into self-love. One way is to write yourself a love letter. That's right, a love letter! When's the last time you sat down and thought about all the things you love about yourself? Try putting that in the format of a list or a literal love letter, an ode to you featuring all the reasons you love being you. Another way to affirm yourself for all you do daily is by creating a gratitude jar. Get a mason jar or a sturdy container and some index cards, and then each day write down something you're currently grateful for. Then, at the end of each month go back, read each card, and experience the feels all over again.
2. Acts of Service
If your love language is acts of service, you want to focus on ways to alleviate responsibility and burden. But how is that possible when you're doing it for yourself? How about paying for a cleaning service to tidy up your home, so you can kick up your feet and relax, or just focus on another errand you have. Typically do your laundry on your own? This time, take your laundry to be cleaned and folded professionally, so that it's one less chore on your to-do list. This category is all about help and so figuring out how to best help yourself is the key. Something as simple as giving yourself a break and finishing work early to enjoy a glass of wine is an act of service to your well-being that you will for sure be grateful for.
3. Quality Time
Introverts rejoice! This version of quality time finally involves spending time with just yourself. While with partners, we stress the value of uninterrupted time together, we don't always keep the same energy when it comes to "me-time". If QT is your thing, carve out time during the week to take yourself on a date. Go to your favorite restaurant, catch a movie (post-COVID), or pack some snacks and a blanket, and treat yourself to a picnic. And make sure you get cute and dressed up in the same way you would if you were headed out with a boo; you deserve to see you at your best as well.
And remember, this doesn't have to require spending money or even leaving the house. Just close your laptop, put down the cell phone, and spend intentional time doing something that makes you happy. Bake something tasty, drink a glass of wine and journal, or just lay on the couch and read a good book. All that matters is you are taking a moment to enjoy quality time with the best person you know, you!
4. Receiving Gifts
Treat yourself, and then treat yourself some more. There is nothing wrong with enjoying getting thoughtful gifts from people who care about you, and that includes from you. This type of self-care can be buying yourself those shoes you've been eyeing, ordering some flowers for yourself to brighten up your workspace, or getting that new dining set you have been contemplating for months. The kind of gift doesn't matter, as long as it has a meaning and importance to you. But also, if you have the means to take yourself on a mini shopping spree and splurge on a few things, I support that as well.
5. Physical Touch
It's time to love up on yourself a little bit here. Stop what you're doing right now and give yourself a nice long hug, because you deserve it. Squeeze tight and let go only when you've had enough. One way to get your daily dose of self-love in this category is by purchasing a massage gun, and giving yourself a body massage. You can focus in on all those areas that have been giving you trouble, and if your co-love language is acts of service or receiving gifts, go on ahead and buy yourself a massage package to get even more physical touch. For my sensual ladies, what better way to love up on yourself than some self-pleasure? Grab one of your favorite toys and make a night of making yourself feel good.
Nobody can touch you like you can.
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Originally published September 6, 2020