Roughly 30 years ago, Gary Chapman first invented the five love languages. Ever since, relationship counselors, life coaches, and self-improvement junkies have been obsessed. Essentially the love languages explain how you like receiving love. Of course, this can provide a ton of insight into your relationships, but did you know it can also really help you even if you’re not in a relationship? If you’re asking, “What is my love language, and how can I make it work for me in my life with or without a partner?” you’ve come to the right space. There are many things you can start doing right this second to love yourself more.
Words of Affirmation
The words of affirmation love language means that you may value what other people say about you, to you. You appreciate compliments, positive feedback, and reassurance that you’re doing a great job just being yourself. Often this love language is there because we may have missed out on opportunities to feel this level of support growing up. When we hear these loving words of affirmation, it fills in for our own self-doubts and the more critical voices in our heads.
So what’s a gal to do if she’s alone without any words of affirmation to keep her warm at night? Don’t fret; there’s plenty you can do to nurture your own spirit and feel connected to your inner love seeker. Give yourself the affirmations you want to hear from others. Odds are the reason you want to hear them from someone else is because you’ve been missing them in your own life.
You can post affirmations on your bathroom mirror, regularly journal the kind things you’d say to yourself, or even just whisper them quietly to yourself before bed. Sure, it may feel funny at first. It’s a learned skill, this loving yourself thing. Take time to turn towards your words of affirmation love language, and let yourself be loved.
Physical touch is another one of the five love languages. If you both wonder the question, “What is my love language?” while at the same time also tapping your foot, rubbing your elbows, or stroking your chin, you may indeed be one of those who value an extra loving touch! Physical touch is exactly what it sounds like, enjoying your body being touched in comforting and loving ways.
You may think this is the most challenging to recreate with self-love of the five love languages. And while we can honor that it may be extra enjoyable to have someone nurturing your body with their human hands, there are plenty of ways for you to reconnect with your body on your own. A long bath, comfortable clothes, or even freshly washed sheets are a great start in helping you feel good.
Masturbation is another excellent way to get in touch with yourself both physically and intimately. With the wide array of sex toys for women out there today, there’s plenty that are designed specifically for female pleasure too. Someone who has a love language of physical touch may be interested in a variety of sensations on their body as well. Learning to love your body is a powerful way to reconnect to the present moment.
Of the five love languages, this is certainly the most expensive. But it doesn’t have to break the bank for it to matter to you. People who enjoy gift giving sometimes enjoy that someone is thinking about them when they’re not around more than anything else. Consider it like object permanence. Gift-giving is a way for the receiver to receive care, even when they’re not actively together.
With this logic, there are some clear ways you can care for yourself with gift-giving. Every time you make a purchase that is relevant to “future you”s quality of life, you’re paying it forward to yourself. By considering not just what you want right now and thinking about what you may want later, you’re loving yourself in a meaningful way.
This could be anything from a sweater you’ve been looking at for the cold months ahead or the “nice” toothpaste at the grocery store. Despite what people think about people who have gift receiving as their love language, it doesn’t mean that you’re materialistic. Of the five love languages, this is one that can help people receive physical, tangible care the most- and that can have a powerful impact.
There are two clear parts of this one of the five love languages. If quality time is your love language, then you know it’s not just about time spent, but also the quality of that time. It simply has to be both. For many, that means having a fully present conversation with a loved one. No phones, no distractions, no one else around- just you and the person you want undivided attention with.
If the quality time love language is your love language, you may be stressing out if you don’t have a partner. While it’s true that quality time is one of the harder of the five languages to go solo on, it’s not impossible. Your need for quality time needs to be time spent being present in an activity you enjoy. By being intentional with the time you spend there, you’re showing up for yourself in a huge way. You’re saying that this time is important and that you’re important. Set some limits with yourself, and don’t get pulled into distractions.
The other important part is, of course, that it’s high-quality time. There is no one right way to define this either; we’re all a bit different. Spend time doing just what makes you feel loved. Whether it’s painting your nails or remodeling a bathroom, it should feel good while you’re doing it more than anything else. If your time isn’t quality at first, that’s ok too. As we grow and get to know ourselves, it’s ok for us to shift. For now, it may be a nap; later, it may be paintball. As long as you’re dedicating time to yourself, you’re doing it right.
Acts of Service
Finally, we have the acts of service love language. People who identify with this one of the five languages enjoy it when other people give their time and energy and do something for them. Often this can help people who struggle with overwhelming their own plate with a bunch of undone “to-do”s. These are the people who struggle to juggle the sheer quantity of tasks that life has thrown at them. If you’ve ever sighed to yourself and just begged someone to take a load of dishes off your hands- this may certainly be your love language.
To help yourself feel loved, take a deep breath and look at that list of things you need to get done one more time, but this time from a loving place. Have grace for what you haven’t done just yet. Set aside some time to just do one thing from your list, but do so in a loving manner. Before folding that laundry, light a candle, find a good show on TV, and a snack. If you can both care for yourself with an act of service and feel good doing it, you’re making this love language work for you. The goal is to feel supported both by your environment and the completion of a task you need to do.
More Love, More to Share
There you have it! Once you identify which of the five love languages most resonates with you, you’ll be able to share it more with others. While you may not have the same love language as your partner, once you invest the energy into loving yourself, you’ll be able to more easily have the energy to learn about them.