Here we are a few days removed from Valentine’s Day, a day that is historically spent frantically trying to find a way to appease those we love assuring them on at least this one day each year, they can count on us showing up. So, did you? Do you pay specific attention to a spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend or do you extend this love to all of your family and friends? It can end up being a pretty large guilt fest, if we allow it. It’s just one day and we have 364 other days to choose from – whew! We do not need to buy into yet another commercialized holiday that serves up unnecessary pressure to make one day on the calendar THE day.
Many of us are at least aware of the fact that there are different ways in which we can show love and ways in which we feel the most loved. Dr. Gary Chapman describes five love languages that we should be aware of and pay close attention to for lasting and fulfilling relationships.
One of these love languages is words of affirmation. Pretty self-explanatory, use affirming words to indicate your love and another person’s worth to you. A second love language is acts of service. Doing something, often even small things, are noticed by individuals who are in tune to this love language. These individuals feel the most loved through actions rather than words.Receiving gifts is a third love language that provides items or materials to show love. Quality time is another love language in which you provide your undivided attention to another. Lastly, physical touch is a love language that shows love through physical contact or touch.
Take the test
It is important to take some time to realize which of these love languages are meaningful to you. I believe that all of them have some impact on us, but I bet you could put them in order of the highest magnitude to least. It is also important to take the time to really hone in on what the love language is of the people you love. Often times we default to what our love language is when expressing our love to others. Many times, it doesn’t work that way and then we all suffer. If we aren’t mindful of how we feel loved and ask those we adore what makes their heart most content, we could be missing each other in very meaningful ways. Over time this could lead to hurt feelings and even resentment. Have this very important conversation with those you love, children included. There is more information and even an assessment you can take at this link to find out more. Go forth and do some good with love.
Turning it on yourself
Now I want to take this one step further. How many of the 365 days in a year do you focus on self-love? Did anyone just cringe a little bit? To be honest, I’m not the most comfortable person with this concept yet either. However, I know it is important. The more I read about self-love the more I see its lack of as the core to many of my anxieties and emotional turmoil. I can take this way back to my childhood, recalling many occasions where I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust. How is it that even before the age of 10 I had mapped out all of the terrible, horrible, no good things about this body I was inhabiting? I always saw the flaws. I have many freckles and don’t recall a time in my life that this was not the case. Before the age of Google, you could find me buried in books and magazines at the library looking for ways to erase these markings from my body. They seemed to me to be the ultimate marking of ugliness, but truthfully, when I saw them on other people, I never thought they were ugly. Why did I have such unease with them on myself?
While there have been many things over the years that I have wanted to change about myself, I have started to question more about why this is. I feel that I cast judgment on myself in the harshest of ways that I would never expect anyone I love to endure. Yet, the things I have called myself and the depth of self-loathing that I’ve fallen to has been very dark at times.
For the good of humanity
As my own children grow and my eldest jumps into her teenage years, I am stricken by those seeds of doubt and judgment that grew at a rapid speed when I was her age. It has been a challenge to hold a mirror to myself and start to see the person there differently. I know I must do this intentionally so that I can model self-love for her and my sons. This will require that I stretch myself toward the light and find ways to use my love language on myself. It seems worth noting that from our birth to our last moment in this human body, our longest relationship is with our own self. It is truly a moral obligation to love thyself in order to be the amazing beings we are here to be.
Have you fallen in love with yourself yet?