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Improving Self-Love and Relationships Using the 5 Love Languages

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

A fulfilling relationship with yourself is just as important as fulfilling relationships with others. Let’s explore how you can thrive in these relationships using the 5 love languages.

If we are being real, maintaining relationships can be hard work. They mean a lot to us, so when things are not going well, of course that can have an impact on our wellbeing. This is typical for many people- even for those who seem to have it all together.

We know that a key component of maintaining relationships is communication, but it’s not just about getting the message across, it’s about how you get that message across. The concept of love languages highlights this further. It was developed by Gary Chapman and it’s the idea that we like to receive love in a particular way, filling up our ‘love tank’ if shown love in that form.

There are 5 love languages:

1. Physical touch

2. Quality time

3. Words of affirmation

4. Acts of service

5. Gifts

We can find out someone’s love language usually by the way they tend to give love to others or by listening to complaints. Someone that complains about not seeing you often is likely to have the quality time love language. If you complain about your spouse not hugging you or holding your hand enough, then chances are your love Ianguage is physical touch. Being conscious of this can help to strengthen your relationships.

Strengthening your relationships with others:

1. Physical touch

People with physical touch as a love language enjoy physical intimacy as a form of communication. Intimacy does not have to be sexual and can still enhance intimacy within the relationship. This can be through a back rub, holding hands, embracing each other or other preferable forms of intimacy. If this is someone’s primary love language, their emotional tank will feel securely filled with it and they’ll feel unloved without it. It is important to be aware of appropriate touch and do not always assume that you know where it is best to touch someone as this can come across irritating, inconsiderate and/or uncomfortable.

2. Words of affirmation

Building up others is a way of expressing love emotionally. People with this love language enjoy receiving affirmation from others. This can be compliments or simply when their loved one lets them know that they are appreciated. Using verbal compliments act as greater motivation rather than nagging. For example, telling your partner that you appreciate them for washing the sink full of dishes is better than sarcastically saying “I never thought you’d get around to washing those dishes. I thought they would have to wash themselves”. Encouraging and kind words go a long way.

3. Quality time

This love language involves spending time with one another and sharing undivided attention. Quality time can mean different things to different people and it’s important to find out how your loved ones enjoy spending quality time with you. You can spend time talking, playing and getting to know each other on a deeper level, and finding the time to give them your focused attention will make a difference to how loved they feel.

Gary Chapman says, for instance that a couple could think that they’re spending quality time, when actually they’re just living in close proximity. Quality time doesn’t mean that you must sit and stare at each other, it means that you should be fully engaged in the activities you do together. This can also relate to having uninterrupted, quality conversations where you are reminiscing over memories, sharing thoughts or expressing feelings. You could partake in activities your loved ones enjoy doing - even if you may not so much. Perhaps even get them to plan a few activities you could do together throughout the relationship.

4. Gifts

If this is your love language, you tend to enjoy giving and receiving gifts as a token of love. Gifts don’t have to be extravagant and can simply be essential or useful items that you know will come in handy for your loved one. Examples could be creating a scrapbook, making something from pottery or giving them something that they may need. Making someone a gift can show an expression of appreciation as you’re showing you love them by spending your time making that gift. Look out for hints in conversations, as this can help you create a gift list, a guide you can turn to when needed. Symbolic and sentimental gifts can truly mean a lot. The gift of your presence can also be so beneficial, particularly in difficult moments or crisis.

5. Acts of service

With this love language, actions speak louder than words and doing something for your loved one (who has this love language) would be greatly appreciated. They truly love when someone does an act of service for them, whether that’s helping them complete a project or doing the dishes. Acts of service can be shown in various forms, you can do your part to make life easier for them or take some strain off them in any way you can. A way to give love to someone that speaks this language is by asking them to make a list of the main things they need to get done this month and the level of priority each task has. This list can help you decide ways you can assist them as best you can. Consider helping someone or something your partner loves, e.g. a family member or a charity.

These love languages can mean different things to different people and it is important to find out how exactly you and your loved ones would like to receive love, in order to have a full love tank.

If you notice that you have different love languages within your relationship, consider ways that you can combine the two. For example, if quality time and gifts - perhaps do an activity where you make something together (quality time) so you can gift it to each other (gifts).

Strengthening the relationship with yourself

Self-love is also important and knowing your own love language can help you with loving yourself in the best way.

1. Physical touch

Be delicate with your body and skin. Pamper and look after yourself. This can be done with massages, manicures, pedicures, spa treatments. Whatever your body needs to be taken care of and feel the love it deserves.

2. Words of affirmation

Speak kind and powerful words over yourself e.g “I am beautiful. I am blessed”. Use journaling to write about your strengths or accomplishments you’re proud of.

3. Quality time

Having alone time or self-care days, especially after a long week can make you feel so much better physically and mentally. Journaling or meditating can be a great way to connect with yourself internally. Allow yourself to tap into your inner child and do things that make you feel positive and relaxed. Also ensure you’re looking after yourself with sleep and exercise and giving energy to things you actually want to give it to.

4. Gifts

Buy yourself something you need or treat yourself to something nice. You are your most valuable asset and you deserve greatness so invest in your personal and educational development.

5. Acts of service

Get something done that you’ve been putting off - this will make you feel at ease and as though you’re accomplishing something, work on your goals and dreams, and look after your body with the food you eat and the activities you engage in. It’s important to do physical, spiritual and mental health checks.

Practicing self-love helps you have a better understanding of your needs. It helps improve communicate in other relationships, as well as have a better quality of life. Having awareness of what makes you happy will help you create boundaries with things or people that don’t meet those standards.

Before you go, you can find out your love language by taking this quiz or reading The 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman:

Check out this resource on toxic relationship habits and how to spot them!

Try and do something that’ll demonstrate love this week!

-Words by Fiona Williams

Inside Out UK Team

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