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What’s Your (Self) Love Language?

What is your self love language?

You may have heard of the love languages.

The idea came from a book by Gary Chapman The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, which describes ways people receive and express love in relationships. Couples knowing each others love language can help each person feel loved and appreciated.

The five love languages are:

  1. Acts of service
  2. Receiving gifts
  3. Quality time
  4. Physical touch
  5. Words of affirmation

If your primary love language is words of affirmation and your partner’s is acts of service, them doing the dishes as an act of love might not translate to you as such. But once you know that is how they intend it, you can reframe that behavior, and they can also make sure to verbally give you the love you need.

There’s a saying (I’m not sure where I heard it, it might be from a Bon Jovi song), we give what we need.

So if I need words of affirmation to feel loved and connected and that’s what I give in my relationships, but they need acts of service, that could get lost in translation. Just like what we say is not always what people hear, this can apply to our intention and behavior too.

The love languages are meant for couples and external relationships, but what if we apply it to our relationship with ourselves?

How we treat ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically can have a significant impact on how we feel and our overall wellbeing.

So if you know your primary love languages, do you treat yourself accordingly?

Just like doing the dishes for a loved one who needs words of affirmation won’t make them feel loved, do you give yourself what you need?

If you’re not sure what your love language is, the first question is which ones make you feel most loved.

You may think they all sound great and most people don’t have just one, but notice which ones sound best to you.

Next ask yourself if your self love language is the same. There is a chance this may be different from your love language in your external relationships. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s just good to know how you can treat yourself best to feel loved and cared for, by yourself.

Let’s take a closer look at each option and see how this might look in your internal relationship:

1. Self acts of service:

Some people feel cared for when their significant other does something for them, such as doing the laundry or going to the store for them. If acts of service make you feel loved, what action can you take for yourself to feel nurtured? It may be the act of moving your body more, or cleaning out your closet because the mess is causing you stress. What acts of service can you do for yourself?

2. Self gift giving:

If receiving a gift makes you feel loved and valued, do you buy yourself gifts? If you give to others what you actually need then you probably buy for everybody but yourself! This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, it’s about the act of giving to yourself, not the monetary value. So what gift can you give to yourself?

3. Quality time:

Who do you need quality time with that would make you feel loved and connected? Maybe you need to be alone, or with a pet, spouse or friend? If this is one of your love languages, who can you spend time with soon?

4. Physical touch for self:

For physical touch, do you enjoy the sensory comfort of a warm, cozy blanket or soft, fuzzy socks? Do you love the feel of water on your skin? Sometimes in yoga they’ll have us massage our feet or our neck, or wrap our arms around ourselves, or rub our hands together to create warmth and place them over our eyes. Try one of these right now and see how your body responds, what sensations do you notice from the sense of touch and warmth?

5. Words of affirmation:

Whether this is one of your primary love languages or not, how we talk to ourselves can significantly affect our mental and emotional health. So not only do we need to beware of (and ideally change) any negative self talk, if this is our love language using words of affirmation is especially crucial.

First, start to notice how you talk to yourself (see past blog: “Self Talk: Friend or Foe”), are you as kind as you are to friends and family? Or are you hard on yourself often, do you call yourself names? The tough self-love approach often leaves us feeling bad about ourselves and unmotivated, so try finding some positive words you can say to yourself regularly.

This will give you the love and encouragement you need and deserve. 

Once you know which love languages make you feel most cared for, make sure to incorporate them in your daily life in how you treat and care for yourself. This is not self indulgent, it is a necessary and crucial part of being a healthy, happy person.

If you or a loved one could use some help with improving your self-care, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Be well and be loved by yourself.

Kathy Most
Therapist in Westfield, NJ
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