The Five Love Languages

“I Love you!” I said ever so sweetly to my husband.

“No, you don’t,” was his response.

When I finally started breathing again, he continued, “As long as you don’t love yourself, you can’t love me. But it’s ok! I will wait.”

To say this didn’t go over well would be the understatement of the day, but those words have stuck to me like glue for 18 years since they were said.

You see, as much as I didn’t want to hear it, it was exactly what was going on and I had no idea! I hated myself so much… So how could I truly love someone else?

The flip side of this also is scary. If I can’t even love me, how can I expect someone else to?

I will admit that it took YEARS to get to that point (of even liking myself), but I will never forget the day that I said, “I love you,” and he smiled at me and said, “Finally.”

Most of us work ENDLESSLY on our relationships. We want to make things better between us and our loved ones. We want our partners to feel accepted and cared for. And, in turn, we want them to offer the same back to us.

That’s great. That’s amazing, actually!

But there’s one super vital first step in that process that some of us tend to miss – loving ourselves!

Physical Touch

“It is hard. It is hard to look at ourselves, the decisions we have made, the cards that have been dealt to us and to see the good sometimes. I was at a point in my life where I was FURIOUS with my body for not taking better care of me, for ruining my life, for being a failure.”

It’s hard to focus on caring for our own bodies – not because we feel obligated to, but simply because we deserve it. 

Most of us have been taught to think about our bodies in a way that focuses on change. We need to be healthier. We need to be thinner. We need to meet other people’s expectations, whether it’s the clothes we wear, the activities we’re part of, the way we style our hair, or even just the expressions on our faces. 

It’s exhausting. 

The thing is, we can focus on our bodies without focusing on changing them. We can approach our bodies with the same love, kindness, and non-judgement we would approach a partner with. And the way we do that is by providing an essential need, a love language that makes us literally feel good: physical touch. 

Your body craves sensations that feel good, and when you provide that, you can truly start to look at yourself as worthy of care. It doesn’t mean you have to swap your diet and exercise routine out for a massage and a nap with a comfy blanket. As long as you take some time to focus on care you deserve instead of only care you need, you’ll quickly start to understand the difference and see how physical touch can be a “self-love” sensation.  

Acts of Services

Analyze your habits and appreciate the amazing ones you have, as well as some that could be improved.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE my Lego. I’ve got a closet full of it. Literally. 

What people don’t realize is that playing Lego isn’t just a hobby. It’s something that I do for myself. It makes me feel calm. It brings a smile to my face. And it makes me laugh like crazy! 

Other people love to clean, or head out for a night on the town, or volunteer their time. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what you choose to do, as long as it brings you complete joy and you make the time to do it. So, in between helping out your clients, your family, your friends, your coworkers – be sure to do something just for you. 

Receiving Gifts

“Whatever you need to fully LOVE yourself, it is worth the time and investment.”

Presents? I love presents!

Who doesn’t like to indulge once in a while? Often, it’s the small treats you allow yourself that help you overcome the big obstacles. And what fun would life be if we didn’t indulge every once in a while?

Remember the last time someone bought you flowers? Yeah, they’re pretty and they smelled good, but it was the thought behind them that made you smile every time you looked at them, right?

Whenever you feel like you need a pick-me-up and you hope that someone else will get the hint and give you what you need, remember that you have the power inside you to do just that! It doesn’t have to break the budget. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But give yourself something that will make you smile every time you see it… or use it… or eat it. And when you do, remember that you are in charge of your own happiness, and you are owning it!

Quality Time 

“I always felt this gap between me and everyone around me and it made me feel so incredibly alone and unloveable.”

When was the last time you took a day to yourself? 

Lots of people will sit down to relax, read, meditate, or whatever it is they want to do for themselves, and think, “I shouldn’t be doing this right now. I still have work to do. I have to take care of these other people and things. This is a waste of my time.” 

The thing is, you’re not wasting time if you’re doing things that make you super happy! Go to therapy, do some organizing to clear your head, or head out for some time with friends, family, or just by yourself. Time spent on yourself is never wasted. So stop allowing your calendar to make excuses for you. Do something for yourself each and every day and you’ll start to notice a difference in how you feel. 

If you struggle with this, don’t wait for opportunity to knock! Block off time for yourself in your calendar each day. If anyone doesn’t agree, explain to them why it’s important to you. Let them know that you need to be able to recharge if you’re going to give the best of yourself. After all, no one can pour from an empty cup!

Words of Affirmation

“Yes, my body has caused me so much pain, but what if I flipped it? What if I thanked it instead for all that it has done for me?”

How do you talk to yourself? Most people say and think things about themselves that they’d never say to someone else. You might not think it’s a big deal, but that constant negativity you’re creating around your own identity is hurting you on a daily basis. 

Language is important, and not just when we’re communicating with others. Our language shapes our reality. So, when you constantly tell yourself you’re not good enough, or you need to try harder, or you should just give up entirely, you’re shaping your own reality. 

Think about the last time you talked with a miserable person. By the end of the coffee date, or dinner, or phone call, you were probably drained and feeling like garbage. Our minds are like sponges. They absorb everything we feed them – including our own thoughts about ourselves. 

So this week, I challenge you to catch yourself whenever you have a negative thought. Catch it, stop it, and see how you can turn it around. Set a mantra and return to it over and over whenever those negative thoughts come up. 

Your Homework

As you power through the rest of the month, remember this: You are worthy of love, especially self-love. Only you can give it to yourself, so get out there and find the love languages that speak to you!