If you don’t know your love language and the love language of those close to you, you are about to learn a tool that will help you love your loved ones with a new focus and specificity. It’s life changing! As a personality type junkie, I feel that the better we know ourselves and each other, the better care we can take. And being able to share how you best feel loved with those who love you will be a huge boon to your relationships. For sure! But how can you make sure you get what you need according to your own love language independent of waiting for those around you to hop to? HELLO!? Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Especially for those of us in a sacrificial job or phase of life (I’m talking ’bout YOU, parents of kids still at home, health care workers, law enforcement officers…)? You need all of the love you can get, and that includes love you show to yourself! If you could target your self love where it’d hit home most efficiently, it’d be a win!
1. Find out what your love language is.
The options are :
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
If you need a little help figuring yourself out, here is a quick online quiz to help you nail it down.
2. Love YOURSELF according to your type!!! How? Like this:
Words of affirmation:
- Clear some space and time to sit down and really think about what you love about yourself, what your skills are, and what you are working really hard to be better about. Resist the ever-present urge to be humble and self-deprecating. It’s just you here. Get out an old fashioned piece of paper and a pen and write a list. Are you considerate? Are you unwaveringly honest? Are you super chipper? What are you proud of? What have you done that makes you feel good about yourself? What have you accomplished that was hard? How do you treat others that makes you feel loving and kind? Pick your favorite 5 attributes and stuff them into a wrinkle in your brain. Now, every time you feel down, overwhelmed, or disappointed, remind yourself of those five things. Write them on a post-it note and stick it to your mirror. Get on Canva and make a beautiful graphic listing them and use it as your phone wallpaper. You need to affirm yourself. It feels good when others affirm you, but YOUR opinion is the one that should be the most important to you!
- Tell your loved ones how important affirmation is to you. It may be hard and feel silly, but they want to know how to love you best, so help them out! When they give you the gift of words of affirmation that hit home, reinforce the behavior by telling them how much that meant to you. They want to know, and they’ll be more likely to speak up in the future if they understand how much it means to you.
- Now, I am surely dating myself here, but Stuart Smalley may actually have been on to something. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here you go. Talk to yourself. Look in the mirror every morning, puff out your chest, and remind yourself of what you love about yourself. This can be internal if you aren’t a talker. It may sound silly, but try it. It’ll make you feel better. And no one has to know!
Acts of service:
- Take some time to be honest with yourself about what tasks are really dragging you down. Is it the never-ending laundry? Is it the constant meal planning? Is it the fact that you never have a moment to yourself? Think hard about what would make those tasks more manageable or possible. Do you need to ask your sister for a weekly laundry date to help you fold, keep you accountable, and make it more fun? You could alternate between her house and yours. Do you need to ask your spouse to send you to a coffee shop to sit down, plan out a month of meals with recipes and shopping lists, and not come home until you have a plan? These things are acts of service to your future self. And you are worthy of them.
- Tell your loved ones how important acts of service are to you. It may be hard and feel silly, but they want to know how to love you best, so help them out! When they do something that feels like an act of service to you, for you, tell them! Reinforce the behavior by telling them how much that meant to you. They want to know, and they’ll be more likely to act in the future if they understand how much it means to you. There may be something you HATE to do (scrub toilets?) that someone in your house just doesn’t really mind. See if there is something you could take off of their plate in exchange that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you but that they hate doing. It’s a win-win!
- Think hard about the things you do for yourself that have a ton of bang for the buck. Do you love sipping a latte while running errands? Do you feel SO much better at night when you climb into a crisp, made bed? Serve yourself with these things. Don’t see it as frivolous or oppressive. Give those favors to yourself and your future self!
- What are the little things that you really love? Do you have a favorite hand soap? Do you just love little individually wrapped dark chocolates after dinner? Do you love a pretty arrangement of fresh flowers on the coffee table? Make it happen, sister. You deserve to be giving these small gifts to yourself. If it seems like a budget burden, take a look at what regular expenditures you can pare down in order to add these joys to your daily life (like your television service; pare it down!). Does it just seem like it’s not the same if it’s coming from you? Well, it’s time you show yourself the same love you always seem to find a way to show others. Try it. You may surprise yourself!
- Tell your loved ones how important little (and big!) gifts are to you. It may seem like you are asking for something you shouldn’t have to ask for, but they need help knowing how to love you best, so tell them! When they give you something that feels like a sweet gift, tell them how loved it made you feel! Reinforce the behavior by telling them how much that meant to you. They want to know, and they’ll be more likely to give in the future if they understand how much it means to you. There may even be something they can give you on a regular basis that will feel awesome to BOTH of you! Put on your thinking cap and figure it out!
- Ever heard of subscription boxes? They are monthly gifts that come to your house and can be tailored to your particular interests. Whether you like candy, crafts, books, graphic tees, or quirky pickle flavors, there is a subscription meant JUST for you a google-search away! Yes, there is some initial outlay of cash, but if you do your research, you’ll find one that lights you up and seems doable. Order it for yourself. Ok, make it a birthday gift to yourself if that makes you feel better. It’s a one time expense for something that’ll give you a zing every month! SOOO much fun!
- What is your favorite thing to do when you have some alone time? If you are an extrovert, this may seem like an oxymoron, but really think. Do you have a favorite comedian no one else in your house “gets?” Do you have a magazine you drool over every time you see it in the grocery store? Do you like to listen to your playlist as you walk up the road to check the neighbors amazing garden? Do you like to go for a drive and listen to your favorite podcast? Quality time might at first glance seem like something that requires another person with whom to spend the time, but the time you spend alone can vary in quality too. Think about your favorite way to spend time alone, and book it into your schedule just like you would a lunch date with a friend.
- Tell your loved ones how important quality time is to you. It may feel demanding or needy, but they want to know how to love you best, so help them out! When they spend what feels like really good quality time with you, tell them how good it felt to you! Reinforce the behavior by letting them in on how wonderful it made you feel. They want to know, and they’ll be more likely to spend that kind of quality time with you in the future if they understand how much it means to you. You may even be able to work it in to their love language. Are they an acts of service person? Ask if you can help them with a task they hate while getting some quality time you need!
- Make a list of the five people with whom you most like to spend quality time. Now, look at your calendar and see if you can get a monthly date set up. It can be to exercise, shop, go to lunch, hike, or just sit on the front porch and watch the cars go by. AND, if you figure out how to fulfill their love language needs while spending the time, they’ll be more motivated to schedule the time with you!
- This is the hardest one to do for ourselves, but let’s get creative. This isn’t so much about touching yourself (although, you go!) as it is about really being introspective as to what exact ways of being touched by others feels to you like love and figuring out how to make sure you are getting that particular touch in your life. Do you love holding hands? Do you love hugs? Do you like massage? Does this kind of touch fill your cup even if it isn’t done by a loved one? If you are a hugger, find out which of your loved ones are huggers too (or don’t have an aversion to hugs at least) and be intentional about hugging them on a regular basis. Hold hands with your partner or child whenever you get the chance. Book a regular massage. Find a way to fit it in your budget, or seek out a massage school looking for clients for practice massages. Join a partners dance class. You need to be touched. Don’t wait for your loved ones to know this and fulfill your need.
- Tell your loved ones how important physical touch is to you. It may feel awkward to discuss, but they want to know how to love you best, so help them out! When they touch you in a way that feels like love to you, tell them how loved you felt! Reinforce the behavior by letting them in on how wonderful it made you feel. (Oh! And get the notion out of your head that this is somehow intertwined with sexual touch. That is different.) They want to know, and they’ll be more likely to give you that squeeze in the future if they understand how much it means to you.
- Don’t expect that this need can and should only be fulfilled by your partner. Hugging your friends, holding hands with your kids, and sitting close on the couch with a friend are all ways to fill this need.