I’ve been focusing on Love throughout February. I planned to talk about Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, but one of my private Facebook members wanted some ideas to do things during Lent instead of the don’t do things many of us were traditionally raised with. I thought why not combine them? We’ll explore what the 5 Love Languages are, how they relate to different relationships you have (including yourself, your body & God) as well as some ideas you add to your Lenten journey as you pray often, eat well & move more.
I remember the first time I read Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages back in 2002 and thinking to myself, WOW! Sharing it with my husband, we pegged our two children pretty spot on. But it wasn’t until I took my health coach training I really started to honor others’ love languages. I also started honoring my own needs. I learned how to ask for love in my preferred language (encouraging my family to do the same) and we all started getting our needs met with love rather than a power struggle.
5 Love Languages (in no particular order)
- Words of Affirmation-praise, compliments, thank yous, talking through things, positive affirmations, written or verbal
- Quality Time-Dates, just being together,
- Touch-Hugs, kisses, reaching out to touch a forearm when talking, cuddles, sex
- Works or Deeds-Always doing something nice for someone, see what needs to be done and does it, willing to roll up sleeves & get to work
- Gifts-big or small, always giving and appreciating a little something
Which one do you identify with most? Are you like me, and analyzing your family and friends? Sometimes it’s easy to figure out. Sometimes it’s more of a challenge, especially if that person was conditioned to believe needing love in their particular language was a sign of weakness or a not so good quality to have. They may display the opposite of the language (the person who is always criticizing or finding fault when they actually need to hear words of affirmation). Or we can perceive another person with a differing love language as needy (that person who is always giving and expecting little gifts or favors).
Understanding & Loving Yourself
Once we understand our language, we can start asking for our needs to be met in that way. I’m a words of affirmation and touch person, so I love talking to others, seeing your comments and hearing or receiving thank yous. I’m also a hugger and will reach out to touch someone’s hand or arm when I really want to connect with them. I do, however understand that others are not OK with hugs and don’t like others coming into their personal space uninvited.
I’ve also learned to recognize others’ languages. My husband likes to show his love by works or deeds. So I let him do things for me even though I could easily do them myself. I also recognize the gifty people in my family. While gifts is at the bottom of my list, I recognize this need for them. I really appreciate every gift they give me and understand it’s their way of expressing their love for me. I do try to reciprocate, but usually fall short of giving the ‘very thoughtful’ gift like they give. Fortunately, we’ve had this conversation, so we’re all OK with how we express love to each other.
Last week, I shared different ways to love ourselves and our body. Another way is to do this is through the 5 Love Languages. How are you talking to yourself/body or referring to yourself/body when you talk to others? When was the last time you took time to take care of you or your relationship with God? Do you give yourself hugs, a massage, those soft tickles? Do you do nice things for yourself-move it and fuel it out of love? How do you treat yourself? Even simple ones like brewing and savoring a good cup of coffee or tea? Here are some easy Lenten suggestions you can use that align with your Love Language
- Words of Affirmation–positive affirmations, journaling, joy journaling, reading the bible or devotions, thank yous to yourself and others, noticing the good (God) in every situation by naming it and being grateful for it, use positive affirmations as you do yoga, strength training, walk or other body movement, bless your food before you eat
- Quality time-Take time out every day to pray or meditate, make a date with someone once a week for some 1:1 time (could be a different person each week or the same person every week, spouse, child, friend, etc), go for a walk to talk to God or notice all the good He’s blessed you with
- Touch-Hug yourself & others, get a massage, massage your own feet or hands, soft tickle yourself, cuddle, snuggle in with a favorite blanket and a good book, shake other’s hands (especially good at work or professional setting), look others in the eye and genuinely wish them Christ’s peace as you shake their hand in church
- Works or Deeds-Do something nice for yourself or others, menu plan & food prep to ensure you eat well, clean your house or rearrange your furniture like you want it (I’ll be painting in the next few weeks!), as the weather gets warmer-get outside for some yard work, volunteer somewhere
- Gifts-I’m always hesitant to talk about gifts as I recognize people financial situations & spending habits vary greatly. But there are ways to treat yourself without spending any money or eating things you’ll later regret. Admire artwork either at a museum, church or other public places, a long bubble or Epsom salt bath with candles & relaxing music/good book, witnessing the sunrise or sunset, noticing the people God’s placed in your life, appreciating all the gifts God offer’s us, you could also do any of the above things as a gift to yourself or others
Which leads into the flip side of showing or expressing love. We need to graciously receive it as well. Like I said last week, we’re conditioned to believe we don’t need other’s help or in some cases, love. I agree, it’s better to give than to take, but receiving is different. How many times have you brushed off someone’s compliment or felt like you didn’t deserve a ‘gift’ or sign of love they offered you? How do you feel when someone else does the same to you?
Now how do you feel when someone receives and is thankful for a sign of love you offered them? How do they feel when you graciously receive and accept what they offer? That’s where true love, acceptance, and connection happen. And the truth is, you are worthy and deserving of it. God designed us to need and connect to each other through love. Receiving is accepting what someone else has offered you with grace and love. Allowing them to show their love to you. Being receptive to love is just as important when offering that love to yourself, your body and God.
So what’s your Love Language(s)? How are you going to use it during Lent this year? Let me know in the comments!
Are you struggling to with your health? Finding it hard to keep those New Year’s resolutions? Are you ready to invest in yourself, your health, your productivity and make positive changes that will have a positive affect on your quality of life for years to come? Wish you had someone who will work with you and your unique situation instead of just telling you what to do? I have a few open coaching spots. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time for a free 30 minute call to learn more. I’d love to help you light up a path to better health and wellness so you can be who you want to be, do what you want to do and enjoy your journey!