How Do You Love Yourself Best? (Love Languages)

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If you’ve ever gotten into a fight with a significant other (and who hasn’t), your Google search may have at some point led you to an article or a quiz on the ‘The Five Love Languages.’ This psychological study published over 10 years ago by Dr. Gary Chapman has placed a strong emphasis on showing that we ALL have DIFFERENT ways of feeling loved and that oftentimes how we feel loved is very different from what makes other people feel loved. Understanding these differences and making active efforts to tap into our significant other’s love language can help build stronger and healthier bonds.

Just like love languages are important in our external relationships they are just as important for knowing how to love ourselves

We spend an obscene amount of time with ourselves which means that if we want to build a healthy bond between our conscious and our ego we need to invest in this empathic tool to feel more aligned and at peace so that we can make better life decisions. 

So what are the five love languages to self-love?

Words of Affirmation

In this self-love language, words and sentimental statements are everything. Positive self-talk, gratitude towards yourself and empowering affirmations are greatly valued by people with this love language.

  • Making a list of your strengths and successes
  • Speaking kindly to yourself (empathy)
  • Journaling and mantras
  • Speaking your ideal future into existence
  • Little pep talks

Quality Time

In a relationship setting, a person with this love language values undivided attention from their partner. That means NO phone, NO TV, NO distractions. In a personal setting this person values uninterrupted alone time to nurture their being. 

  • Meditation and introspection
  • Transformational breathing
  • Engaging in a creative passion
  • Taking yourself on a date
  • Reading a book or watching something
  • Enjoying a warm beverage and blanket
  • Spending time in nature
  • Rest, recovery, sleep

Physical Touch

People with this self-love language thrive by celebrating and honouring the body. In summary, that means participating in actions that make the body feel good.

  • Yoga, exercising, dancing, Zumba… etc.
  • Massage or spa day
  • Bath salts, warm showers
  • Skin care and grooming
  • Pampering sessions

Acts of Service

In this self-love language people find a sense of inner satisfaction from doing tasks that need to be completed or things that have been neglected but serve their well-being.

  • Cleaning their room
  • Making your bed
  • Taking the trash out
  • Doing laundry
  • Meal prep
  • Scheduling, planning, organizing, and delegating
  • Attending therapy or coaching
  • Focusing on taking actions inside of values to live a more intentional life

Receiving Gifts

In this self-love language people enjoy getting themselves gifts or making gifts that spark personal joy.

  • Spending money on hobbies
  • Shopping for things that you love (in your means)
  • Going on a trip or holiday
  • Restaurants that spark the taste buds
  • Buying a course or personal development book (like our new EQ course for beginners – shameless self-promo)
  • Using arts and crafts to make something (ex. Meditation colouring book, bird house, dream catcher… etc.)

To an extent, we all share these self-love languages but it pays to pay attention to what truly sparks our soul and makes us feel cared for and ultimately loved. 

What’s your self-love language? Share what makes you feel loved in the comment section below.

The Self-Improvement Trap

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When you last picked up a self-help book or took the initiative to participate in a personal development course, what motivated you to do so?

Was your motive something along the lines of…

  1. I need to fix my negative thoughts because their messing up my life
  2. I need to get rid of my insecurities because they have ruined so many opportunities
  3. I need to become more present because if I don’t I’ll be forever anxious 

Or did they embody something along the lines of this…

  1. I would like to establish a more positive outlook on life so that when I’m in a conflicting situation I can make more proactive decisions
  2. I would like to respond to myself with kindness when my insecurities arise and reduce the self-critical effect
  3. I would like to become more present so that I can enjoy my family and friends

So, which one was it?

Isn’t it interesting to see how similar yet different these motives are? There is a fine line between self-improvement and self-degradation. In the first category, there is a great emphasis on trying to ‘fix you’ as a person. The motives are laced with a negative undertone and a disease like quality. It’s like once I become emotionally stable, then I’ll be lovable. Once I tackle my anxiety, then I’ll be able to live. It’s the never ending pursuit of once I have this, then I’ll be good.

Many of us take this self-improvement approach. We have this belief that we need to eliminate the bad, before we can see the good in a situation or in ourselves.

What’s The Problem With This Thinking?

The problem is that we become trapped into trying to fix the old rather than build the new. When we create goals around ‘fixing ourselves’ we carry around a heavy weight of powerlessness, shame, not enoughness and struggle; which makes growing and improving so much harder (and failing even more so). Because of this strong negative undertone, we place more focus on protecting ourselves than growing.

Give Yourself Some SLACK!

If what I described above sounds like you, it’s not your fault and your 1000% normal. Emotions are real. Psychological issues are real. Triggers are real. Habits are real. The struggle is real and you’re not alone.

From an evolutionary perspective, this way of thinking and behaving helped us stay alive. Your anxiety helped prevent unwanted outcomes like rejection, failure and ultimately death. Your depression helped prevent the emotional overwhelm and everything in between helped manage something to keep you in the here and now. If you think about it, the blame is quite ambiguous because who you are right now is merely a compilation of the people you were around, the culture you’ve been exposed to and life circumstances you’ve experienced.

The important question comes down to… is there a way out and is there a way to use growth that is healthy and uplifting? Yes. 

That starts with the practice of self-acceptance. That means being okay with where you are at the moment and understanding that you are exactly where you need to be right now.

In our new course ‘Emotional Intelligence for Beginners’ we cover and provide tools on how to develop self-compassion so that you deal with difficult emotions when they arise and make choices and decisions that are based on growth rather than insecurity.

I feel so ashamed…

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My singing performance didn’t go as well as I hoped. I had worked tirelessly, rehearsing for weeks to perfect the annunciations, tone and swag of the song but it had seemed that my anxiety got the best of me. Because my worth was so wrapped around my performance, I felt like a failure. To add on top of that, my mother tossed in a statement, “See, I told you can’t make this into a career. You’re not good enough.” That statement cut me like a knife since I was incredibly passionate about music and I did have the capacity to do a good job in it. Moreover, it was my very own MOM who said that (the one who’s ‘supposed’ to be unconditional with love).

My body posture slumped in defeat and I felt like a failure. The emotion I was experiencing was the feeling of shame. Let’s dive into the logistics. Shame is a self conscious emotion that serves to remind us of an inadequacy within – forcing our body to shut down and avoid taking any social risks. The purpose of doing so is to help us stay survive. 

The feeling of shame can be triggered in several ways. It’s through feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonour, regret, and disconnectedness.  Let’s break those down.

Feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness are closely tied to how we felt earlier in life. The way that our parents/ environment treated us played a role in defining our belief systems which impacted the assumption of how we think we deserve to be treated, what we’re capable of, and how we perceive ourselves. A child that was taught that they’re incapable or unworthy is likely to carry that belief into adulthood. 

Dishonour arises when we feel we failed to live up to cultural or personal expectations. For instance, in many cultures there is a great deal of shame associated with marrying a person outside of a religion. This can also be closely associated with race, economic and social status. This emotion is very closely bonded with the emotion of betrayal. Social rejection is incredibly painful and even deadly at times which is why shame helps us remind us of that.

Regret arises when we made a mistake in a relationship or when we missed a great opportunity. Our lack of acceptance to our human nature provokes us to participate in self destructive behaviours where through rumination hopes to emphasise to avoid a mistake like that again. 

Lastly, the feeling of disconnection hopes to remind us of how terrible it is to be ALONE. If we feel disconnected amongst a group of people we often blame our character for being rejected; failing to see that other factors were at play. Shame directs us towards conformity enabling people pleasing and peer pressure to take its course.

Shame can be triggered by another person or by our own internal citic. The emotion of shame makes us believe that our character is flawed or bad which only motivates us to hide or try to save face. Unfortunately, the more we try to run away from this feeling, the more likely we are to withdraw within ourselves and fall into an addiction.  

Shame is often confused with the emotion of guilt, but are VERY DIFFERENT. Guilt is when we don’t feel good about an action we made. For example, you make a joke at the expense of your friend’s insecurity and your friend turns beet red and is clearly embarrassed, ashamed and upset at you. You feel bad because you care about your friend and her well-being. Shame, on the other hand, has a great emphasis on a character flaw. It cannot see the difference between ‘bad behaviour’ and ‘bad self’. 

Shame can be a messy emotion. Luckily with conscious effort we can come to acknowledge its purpose with compassion and find constructive ways to manage it.