How many times have you heard people say that you need to engage in self-care and self love, or a self care day? Or that self care for moms, dads, and everyone else is important? They say this for a reason; it's extremely important. So often we go about our day on autopilot. We become so used to working, taking care of other people, and focusing on things we feel like we need to do that we often forget to take care of ourselves. While you might not have a lot of time in your day, engaging in self love techniques doesn't have to extremely time-consuming or elaborate. It can something as simple as allowing yourself the time and space to relax and find peace with a bubble bath, watch your favorite TV show, or go out with friends. When you start to engage in self love techniques, you'll find that life will feel more fulfilling for you personally, but you'll also likely be able to handle outside stressors.
What Is Your Love Language?
It is postulated that there are five broad ways in which human beings express and impart their feelings of emotional love, otherwise referred to as love languages. This research expands by identifying five different love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, giving or receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. We all are thought to have a dominant way of both expressing and receiving love, which aren't always the same form.
Someone may tend to show their love by making time for the important people in their life, while they may most effectively comprehend another's care in the form of verbal or written affirmation. While most readers generally relate to all five forms, we all have one or two that stand out to us. Regardless, it's important to reflect upon your relationships with those in your life, as well as with yourself, asking objectively how you can love yourself to the fullest and how can you shape your life to maximize this love.
Additionally, you may use different love languages depending on the relationship. Much of culture, both past, and present, is instilled with discomfort with expressions of love. People also show their love through maladaptive behaviors, such as displays of dominance, violence or criticism, which they mistake for imparting love. Examples are found in parents that use physical beatings as a form of discipline, often telling themselves that it's for the child's benefit.
Understanding Love Languages
Understanding personality types and love languages can go a long way in improving your communication skills, making it easier to empathize and work with others, rather than to resort to aggression or distancing. Recognizing personality types and love languages can also help identify the most appropriate self-care techniques for the individual. We all need TLC to stay functioning at our best and to maximize our potential. Depending on how we receive and transmit sensory information from and into our environment, certain things will rejuvenate or drain individuals differently and to varying degrees.
If you're unsure of what your love language is, you can check out the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It's also a good option if you're aware of your love language but wants to delve deeper into the intricacies of each category so you can learn more about how you can give and receive love. As always, it's important to remember that loving ourselves and putting ourselves above all else should be a priority.
How Do I Love Myself?
We might think that we love ourselves fully but in reality, we might just be doing the bare minimum to make sure that we're being taken care of. While we can't always dote on ourselves and provide ourselves with everything, we want all of the time, it's still a good rule of thumb to ask yourself "Is this what's best for me?" when making decisions. Loving yourself also means accepting your flaws. No one is perfect so it doesn't make sense to strive for that level of satisfaction. There is a lot of beauty in being able to recognize and accept your weaknesses. Loving yourself means doing your best not to engage in negative self- talk. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and realize that you are more than the sum of your faults.
Despite what people might tell you or make you believe, you should allow yourself to be indulgent at times. It is not at all selfish to love yourself and decide that you are going to put your needs above the needs of others. There isn't anyone in this world who will put you before yourself, so you need to step into that role and take control. By doing this, not only do you become a better version of yourself, but you become a better friend, co-worker, daughter/son, parent, and partner. If there is something that you know brings you a tremendous amount of joy, don't be afraid to schedule a time for you to partake in this activity.
Self Care To-Dos
Since it's often easier to focus on the negative, consider making a list of accomplishments or keeping a self-esteem journal where you note the things you've done well each day. You can write about times that you were complimented, were kind to others, or took care of yourself. It helps to be able to have something in written form that you can refer back to when you're struggling to remember your worth. Part of engaging in self-care means allowing yourself to dream about the future. None of us know what the future holds for certain, but it's healthy to think about what you want and how you plan to get there. Think about creating a vision board. Allow yourself to try new things or a new technique to figure out what sparks your interest.
Understanding and Appreciating Variety
Recognizing the differences between people is often the first step and important in exercising and building your capacity for empathy. By understanding that not everyone interacts with and is stimulated by the world in the same way that you are, you can learn how better to read and understand those in your life. For many, those that express their love differently than you do can seem foreign or the sentiment may get lost in communication. This also helps you to better understand yourself. If you can recognize and accept others for their differences, this should translate to you being more accepting of yourself. Just like you can love and appreciate other humans who have faults and are less than perfect, others will be able to accept you as well.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
What are the physical signs of love?
There are many physical signs of love. Science shows you can measure love scientifically by the initial reaction of the nervous system that affects the brain resulting in a variety of physical signs on a man or woman’s face or body. These hormones like dopamine and its chemical cousin are released during feelings of love and affect practically any stimulus. When you fall in love the stimulus makes your palms sweat and pupils expand. Normally if you fall in love will begin to have larger pupils when they reduce light in the room, however, a pupil study shows a person in love will also have dilated pupils that they cannot consciously control. This is often where the term “bedroom eyes” comes from.
What is the best symbol of love?
Every person has a different way for expressing love based on their love language. To find the best symbol of love, it may be important to find what love language you or your partner uses to give and receive love. The 5 love language include:
Words of affirmation: Words of affirmation differ from a normal conversation. A person who gives and receives love through this language will use words deeply to express their love and respect. They may like a love letter or a poem.
Gift giving: A person who appreciates gift giving may feel loved if they are given a gift or taken to romantic restaurants for a 3 course meal. Other times they may like to be the one to give gifts and you may receive a doctored photograph of your relationship together. If a woman gives you a gift it may be her way of expressing her love to you.
Acts of service: This love language includes doing positive things for your partner for free.
Physical touch: Those whose love language is physical touch will respond to physically being touched and may expect that in their relationship. They may value their sex life and the effort put into it. Men judged they often appreciate physical touch as their love language.
Quality time: Modern love can be difficult. Partners are often on their phones proving there is a difference between quality time and quantity time in a relationship. A partner whose love language is quality time will likely want to free spend time with their partner without any distractions. They may like to do fun things together with their partner or spend loving time together. This can include all the time lovers spent staring into each other's eyes using direct eye contact.