Self-care is a hassle for some people because it requires knowing yourself well enough to know what you may be missing. You have to take the time to figure out what you enjoy, what means the most to you, and why, then spend the time understanding and communicating those reasons.
Due to the recent pandemic and social distancing era, it has been more challenging for people to find meaningful connections to complement their love languages. But how often are we encouraged to apply what we desire from others to ourselves? By breaking down our concept of love, we may be able to show up and explore how we can take care of ourselves often better than the ways we demand that care from others.
Not sure what applying love languages to yourself would entail? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered below:
Love Language Styles & Practical Ways to Apply to Self
Not sure of what you love languages are or which ones take priority, take this quiz to find out! After completing the quiz, you get your results emailed to you with a description of each of the love languages in the order of significance. Below are the descriptions of each love language from Dr. Gary Chapman himself and some ideas on how you can apply each love language directly to yourself.
Words of Affirmation explained by Dr. Chapman:
“Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words “I love you” is essential – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are rarely forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.”
Words of Affirmation to Yourself:
What are some of the words that you NEED to hear from others? What phrases and affirmations help you feel reassured and loved? Perhaps keeping an affirmation journal where you can keep these words nearby for any time use would be helpful. I’ve seen some people keep poster boards full of quotes and affirmations in their bedroom or workspace, post-it notes to yourself. Again this will look different for different people, if you’re more audible consider doing voice notes to yourself or video journals to make these words more impactful, even if they are just coming from yourself.
Quality Time explained by Dr. Chapman:
“In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feels truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be incredibly hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.”
Quality Time with Yourself:
Quality time can be making dinner for yourself and enjoying it with a favorite book; this can be spending time out at the park, reading a good book, taking up a new hobby, getting lost in nature, journaling, binge-watching TV shows, etc. This love language is going to look different for each person. There is no one size fits all list of things to do because only you are enlightened enough about who you are as a person and can best provide yourself with what you need. Need further assistance? Make a list and ask yourself, “In what ways do I enjoy spending quality time with others, and can I do those things alone?”
Acts of Service explained by Dr. Chapman:
“Can vacuuming the floors be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and doing more work tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.”
Acts of Service for Yourself:
In order to grasp Acts of Service for yourself, you must have an idea of what brings you joy. Everyone will make time for things that are most important to them! Considering all the things you know that you have been putting off as well, can serve as an indicator of how to meet this need. Have you ever put off cleaning your room for so long, and when you finally decide to do it– you make a whole day out of it and it feels so good and cleansing and freeing? That feeling could exist for any task for someone with this love language.
Physical Touch explained by Dr. Chapman:
“This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.”
Physical Touch from Yourself:
Physical Touch is often associated with sexual energy, and while that can apply, there are other ways to really take the plunge to meet this need for yourself. When you are a physical touch person, consider all the different feelings you get from exerting your physical self. This can relate to exercise and fitness, how you dress; the time you take to make sure you’re wearing something that feels good. Pampering yourself: massages, manicures, baths, getting your hair done, taking a little extra time to use lotions and body oils. Comfy bedding, weighted and heated blankets to stimulate the weight and heat of another. So many things can really provide comfort for this language type.
Receiving Gifts explained by Dr. Chapman:
“Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, cared for, and prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.”
Receiving Gifts from Yourself:
I have a wishlist of items that I often want but never buy, but for someone with this love language, putting aside money designated to the things you really want. Small meaningful gifts whether it’s a magazine subscription, flowers once a week, taking yourself to dinner, or getting some more luxurious items. Again, only you will know the significance of doing these things for yourself, so stick to what you can comfortably afford while also making sure it has the meaning you’re seeking behind the gesture.
Self-care and self-love have always been foreign concepts because I never used to take care of myself in a way that made these concepts habits. My last job required that I take time out of my schedule to implement a self-care routine, and I struggled with making that happen out of confusion. So, when someone would ask me what I did for self-care, I would fumble that answer and say whatever sounded good. For me, self-care was going to the gym, my local hookah bar, or watching movies on my laptop while talking with my partner. Not to say that those aren’t examples of self-care, but those were surface-level actions because I was not familiar with the care I needed. When it comes to me, I found that my complaints reflect the self-care needs I may be unaware of at the time. I would ask myself, “What am I not getting? What is being denied to me right now? What is irritating me about this situation?” I found that when I look at my problems or stressors as indicators that something is missing, I’m able to catch on pretty quickly to what’s missing in my life and find ways to apply it healthily.
I bring up self-care and self-love because I feel like how you approach taking care of yourself mentally and physically while also showing yourself kindness could reflect your love languages. Finding the correlation between your love languages and your emotional needs could be beneficial for your relationship with yourself and others. I talked with my partner about self-love and why so many people, including myself, struggled with this concept. We discussed that love is a challenging concept because it is an action word and not necessarily a feeling. Love is work. Consider looking at love from a work perspective or an action perspective, you’re able to ask yourself, “Am I WORKING on myself,” which translates to “Am I loving myself? Am I spending quality time with myself, providing myself with physical touch, affirming myself through words, providing myself with gifts or acts of service?”
My Love Languages:
8 Words of Affirmation
7 Quality Time
6 Acts of Service
5 Physical Touch
5 Receiving Gifts
When I look at my love languages, I can easily see why they are essential to me in their order. I can easily see how I am not getting these needs met as often as I would like. And more importantly, I can see all the ways I am not meeting my own needs, which is ironic considering I am the only one who knows what is missing. I never really considered how we are often denied our love languages, whether by others or, more importantly, ourselves. Finding a way to reach closeness and provide yourself with your level of love is truly beneficial!
Through figuring out how I often “demand” to be loved, I realized the more I put that demand on myself, the more I can appreciate what my partner offers willingly and unconditionally. Consider some of the follower questions to really break down the way you identify with love in general and how you can apply certain principles to yourself.
- What is love to you?
- How do you show and communicate love?
- How do you receive love?
- What were your first examples of love?
- Do you have a healthy relationship with the CONCEPT of love?
- Have you had healthy demonstrations of love in your life?
- How do you correlate the love you have seen and received to self-love?
After considering the questions above, take the time to reflect on the following:
- Make a list of all the thing you like to have done for you or you
- Explore why these connections and interactions are important to you
- Ask yourself: How might I apply this same energy to myself consistently? What are practical ways to keep my meters high?
Gerlinda Renee’ is a creative with a background in Psychology and enjoys looking at the arts through a lens of personal and social behavior. Topics of choice will be in the collection of growth, reflection, perspective and self care.