Love Yourself In Every Language, Part I


I've had Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages book on my to-be-read list for longer than I'd care to admit. I think reading it would give me a lot of insight into myself and the relationships I've been in over the years, including not only why they didn't work but why they did - and the only reason I haven't made it to this book is that my reading wish list is simply so long.

Still, I've made a point over the years to learn a little about the five love languages how they work, not only as a woman still hoping for a healthy, long-lasting marriage with a safe, solid, and trustworthy partner, but also as a mother raising two daughters I hope will become strong and productive women in the world, and most importantly, as a member of a society seriously lacking in compassionate love for one another.

But - among many others - Joyce Meyer spoke an important truth when she said, "If you don't love yourself, it's impossible for you to love others. You can't give away what you don't have." And I know she isn't the first or the only person to express that sentiment, but I love the way she says it particularly because of that last bit. If love is something to be shared, it makes perfect sense that if you don't know how to even love yourself, when you know yourself perhaps better than anyone else possibly can ... then how can you learn to properly love anyone else in a way that they can feel and recognize?

If you're mute, how can you learn to speak someone else's language? If you're starving, how can you feed others? It's simple: You can't.

But we can fix that, just by taking the time to learn about ourselves. You can learn to love yourself by first learning your love language, and then making a point of practicing that language on yourself. There are so many possible ways to treat yourself, but when we think of self-care and self-love, the first thing we tend to think of is a pedicure or a bubble bath or some other type of physical pampering. But what about the people for whom that doesn't work? What about the people for whom that isn't enough? What if you hate bubble baths, but you love the idea of how they work to show self-love? Are there alternatives?

Let's start with this - in this post we'll talk just a bit about the five love languages, then we'll resume this series next week, where I'll explore each love language in more detail, sharing my favorite tips and tricks for using these languages to speak love into your own life.


WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
More than .just a quick "good job," words of affirmation speak directly the value of a specific person. Sometimes it does mean acknowledging a job well done, but more importantly, affirmative speaking is about acknowledging the value of the person more than the task. Further, if speaking affirmation into the hearts of those around us can inspire and motivate them to keep trying, what more could we accomplish of we were our own cheerleaders?


ACTS OF SERVICE
Serving others is an important part of showing that we value and respect them. A servant heart can turn a simple chore into an act of love, regardless of the difficulty - or lack thereof. And in serving others, we ourselves reap the benefit of gratitude and appreciation - or at the very least, a sense of accomplishment and good will. But serving ourselves has value too, as no one else can know quite what we need as well as we can.


RECEIVING GIFTS
It really is better to give than to receive. There's a certain joy in giving someone a gift and watching their surprise turn into joy and gratitude. But there is joy in receiving too - the magic of a gift is undeniable. And who says we can't spoil ourselves now and then with some small trinket or token of self-appreciation?


QUALITY TIME
With so much of our society today so focused on busyness, productivity, and constant striving, we often forget (or outright neglect) to give ourselves downtime to just be. We forget how to enjoy our own company, forget how to listen to the sounds of our own longings. We stop being our own friends. But we're worth the effort, aren't we? They say the best way to have good friends is to be a good friend, right? Well, who better to practice on than yourself?


PHYSICAL TOUCH
Don't get up in arms, y'all - we're not taking this blog post to that place. That being said ... yes, there is a place for physical touch in self-love. The skin is one of our largest and most sensitive input receptors, and there are so many different ways to engage touch as a form of self-love. From a scented lotion rubdown to a soft blanket to a simple heating pad, there are tons of great ways to show love to yourself through physical touch.


But before we dig deeper into the love languages and how we can adapt them to create a stronger self-love relationship in our lives, spend a minute thinking about your love language - and your self-love language. Are they the same, or are they different? Do you relate most to just one, or would you best appreciate some combination? Let me know in the comments, and then make sure you're coming back for part two of this series, which will resume right after this month's upcoming Friday Feels.


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Speaking of the Army, I'd like to personally invite you to take your place among those who have bravely fought and survived the battles of life. Addiction, abuse, violence, divorce, parenting, illness, and other traumas are real battles too; those who suit up to fight every day have a right and an obligation to nurture their own health, well-being, and self-empowerment. I know how hard it can be to keep going - but there is strength in numbers, and as a member of the Undaunted Army, you have the hope of knowing that you will never have to fight your battles alone again. Enlist as an Undaunted Army Private for free, or invest in the growing impact of the Army with an Undaunted Army Officer Commission for as little as $1 a month. And now, you can wear your Undaunted Pride right out in the open by sporting Undaunted Army merch!

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