As a society, we are often focused on how we can help and serve those around us. We often put in maximum energy into work, loved ones, family, and friends. It is easy to feel like we give and give trying to meet the needs of those around us and we often end up feeling depleted and that we don’t have enough time or energy for meeting our own needs. At times we may wish there was someone to care for and look after us. There may be feelings of disappointment and resentment when it seems like our own needs are not being met by those in our circle. The real key to personal happiness is the realization that we are responsible for filling our own cup. Of course, it is nice and desirable to have those around us serve and show love toward us, but ultimately we can and should show love to ourselves in the way that we need to be loved.
How can you show love to yourself and meet your own needs? There is a great book and resource you are likely already familiar with called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. This book shares the 5 different ways that people receive love with the idea of finding how you and your loved ones give and receive love. This information will help you show love to those around you based on their love language. A person can use this knowledge to learn what their own love language is and how they can give themselves the self-care they deserve to feel loved and fulfilled. Let’s take a look at the 5 Love Languages and learn how you can start loving yourself!
- Words of Affirmation: This is expressing verbal compliments or words of praise and appreciation as self-love. If you find that what you “think” means a great deal to you, you will want to talk to yourself like you would your best friend or someone you love. Speak love, positivity, and support to yourself. Some great ideas would be daily affirmations, journaling, documenting your successes, taking time to think about what you are grateful for and focus on positive self-talk with loving words. Choose to be your own cheerleader!
- Acts of Service: You will want to “do” self-love by doing what makes you feel the happiest and loved. Think about what you need and then put your thoughts into action by fulfilling those needs. Make yourself that doctor’s appointment or create a healthy menu plan and go to the store for the ingredients. Clean and organize a room so that you feel comfortable spending your time there. Take the time to fix yourself up the way you like so that you feel beautiful and confident in your appearance. Another idea would be to hire someone or ask a friend to run an errand for you. Show yourself, love, by action!
- Receiving Gifts: Focus on “accepting” and absorbing self-love. Carefully spend your money on things that bring you joy and give you good energy. Buy yourself a favorite treat, flowers, or a monthly subscription box of things you enjoy. Invest in yourself by taking a cooking class or volunteer at a place where you can learn something new. Write out a bucket list and work on checking off an item as often as you can. Investing in yourself is a great way to experience self-love.
- Quality Time: For this, you will want to “be present” with yourself. Wisely choosing how you spend your time is very important. Think about how what you are doing makes you feel and prioritize doing those things. It may be something like taking a long bubble bath, reading a book, meditation, taking a walk, or another form of exercise. Make time for your hobbies and leisure activities as play and enjoyment will help you feel connected to yourself. Focus on finding uninterrupted time that you can participate in the activities that give you self love through relief and relaxation.
- Physical Touch: You will want to focus on “feeling” your self-love. Think of how you can provide yourself with physical touch; there are many different ways when you take the time to ponder and come up with a list. Curl up in a warm blanket by the fire or make an appointment for a massage or pedicure. Take time to practice yoga or stretch your muscles, especially if they feel tight. Purchase high quality or comfy bedding. Learning what makes you feel good is a process, but worthwhile as you enjoy the benefits of giving yourself, love.
Many people feel the love in more than one love language so be curious and experiment with different ideas! Figure out what feels good to you. When you are able to identify your love language you will be able to communicate with others how you need to be loved, as well as meet your own needs and experience the care and love for yourself that you desire and deserve.