SELF Love Language Challenge
Have you ever heard of the 5 Love Languages? There is a book by Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages & there is also a quick (ok not super quick) test you can take online to see what your dominant love languages are. While we all experience love in all 5 categories, we usually have 1 or 2 that come more naturally for us.
These tests are often used for parents with children so they can assess how the child can feel most loved. It is often also used in partnerships so that each partner can understand how the other person needs to feel most loved.
My encouragement to each person is to take on the 5 self love language challenge with me experientially. The five categories are gift giving, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time. While we will have a dominate language of love, how can we begin love ourself better in every category? Have you ever taken the test? If not, it could be a fun way to help know yourself better, but then still make a conscious effort to express self love through all 5 categories, because they all add value into our life.
Whether you pick a different category each day and find a way to show up in love for yourself that day through that style or maybe you focus on one category per week for the next 5 week, making a conscious choice to love yourself in a well rounded way. My guess is that even if you didn’t take the test, along the way through the experiment you will likely discover what language aligns most with your soul through discovering how each expression of love makes you feel in the act of experiencing it.
I really love the idea of focusing on language for an entire week so that we can really begin to influence the neuroplasticity and create some habits through the repetition. I think it is also important to make it fun - be creative and playful as you try these languages on consciously. Also be aware and notice what comes really easily for you and what is a little bit more challenging. Of course you can do this challenge in any order you want - maybe you start the first week with the language that is most intimidating to you - or you ease into it by starting with the language that speaks most loudly to you right now.
Here is a five week suggestion with some examples:
Week one: WORDS OF AFFIRMATION. Set a goal to speak so lovingly and kindly to yourself everyday - take it up a notch and speak these words to yourself in front of a mirror. Mirror work is such an amazing tool to develop a richer relationship with self, of love and compassion. I also encourage you to focus on this language not only for yourself, but everyone you are around… because what we put out comes back and the more we give the more we receive, and where our attention goes energy flows. It is likely that if you are sharing words of affirmation with yourself you will naturally want to lift others up as well, and visa versa. IF you speak kind words to others eventually you will find it easier to speak kind words to yourself. IF you are in DNRS you will find that we do this everyday in our rounds when we congratulate ourself and remind ourself what a great job we are doing, but maybe you could also wake up in the morning & look in the mirror into your own eyes and say “Gosh I love you!” A way you could incorporate this language into your life for those around you - when you are out and about look for things people do, say or are even wearing that you could compliment them on, of course always be sincere. As you read this week’s love action how do you feel? What happens in your body at the thought of standing in front of a mirror looking into your own soul? Just notice.
Week two: ACTS OF SERVICE. This one ties perfectly into the idea that love is a verb. In what ways for week two could you do acts of service for yourself? What are meaningful acts of service to you? Maybe you absolutely love when you wake up early enough to engage in a quiet peaceful zen morning routine? Maybe its joyously cooking yourself a really beautiful meal rich in nutrients that you can savor every bite, knowing that it was made with your own love as a gift to your body. Maybe its asking for some alone time in the evening where you can focus on your brain retraining practice or a mediation. Another way to act in service to yourself, is by asking for support from another. Maybe it is kindly asking your spouse to cook you a meal this week so you could have a day out of the kitchen. What if you have been feeling overwhelmed w/ responsibilities and you ask someone if they would take one thing off your plate & help you out? Notice what comes up for you right now as you read this. Does this sound exciting, does it make you nervous, do you get a twinge of feeling guilty at even the thought of asking for someone else to take care of a task you are used to doing? Just notice.
Week three: GIFTS. Gifts is a fun one. I mean it sure it can be big, but it can also just be small little gifts you give yourself. It can be tangible or not. It could be as simple as the gift of presence. Taking a pause to notice your feet on the ground, the smells in the air, and the sounds you hear. It could be buying yourself some cute little thing that maybe you have been eyeing over and over again but holding out on for whatever reasons. Or, maybe you treat yourself to the massage you have been craving for months but keep putting off because somewhere deep down you are holding a limiting belief that you aren’t worth the cost of it or that you have more important things to spend your money on. I feel like most of us probably have things that we think about, and would like to have, and while it isn’t always realistic to have all things, its nice to occasionally treat ourself to something that we really get to appreciate and enjoy. Notice what shows up for you in this week or as you read this part… does buying something for yourself make you feel anxious or selfish? What about excited with anticipation? Just notice.
Week four: Touch. Oh the list is endless… but need I mention HUGS… hugs, hugs, and more hugs… hug yourself, hug your friends & family, hug your pets…and the longer the better… did you know that a 20-30+ second hug can literally help your body release a very large amount of oxytocin the loving feel good hormone? It can also reduce stress levels & lower blood pressure. Other things you can do are roll yourself around on the ground… every point of contact with your body & ground is stimulating all the receptors on your skin which bring so many rich wonderful benefits… plus as you roll around you might notice it can feel almost massaging to tight or tender muscles. Maybe you can get a foam roller and treat yourself to self massage? Rolling out your tired muscles at the end of a long day, or giving yourself a little foot rub? OF course, you can also request someone like a spouse to generously rub your feet or hands as well, and let them help show you that love. And, it can go both ways - you can offer to give your spouse a little massage - because the act of giving is still incorporating touch which is also beneficial for you! It is a win-win. But thinking beyond physical skin to skin touch - imagine if you just brought more presence and awareness into your days and reached out to touch more things in your life through a new lens? A lens where you really felt the richness of a soft fuzzy blanket, or the silkiness of a rose petal, or the texture of the ground beneath your feet? This one happens to be my absolute favorite - going outside barefoot and allowing the sole (soul) of your foot to connect to our Mother Earth, and all of her many glorious textures, rough, soft, smooth, prickly, tickley, and so much more… Explore these sensations and see what happens. Notice what comes up for you as you read these examples… does this make you feel ready to take your shoes off and run through grass? OR do you feel hesitant…do you notice any limiting beliefs about why you couldn’t or shouldn’t do any of these acts of touching love? Just notice.
Week five: QUALITY TIME. Last but NOT least - we have quality time. Ohhhhhhhh when we often think of quality time it can be easy to think about spending it with someone else… which - absolutely could indeed be an act of self love…However, how often do we think of quality time with ourself? In what ways could you spend with yourself that you would consider to be quality time spent? IS it creating? Writing? Reading? Watching the sunrise or set? Laying in a hammock? Going on a solo adventure & exploring something new? Is it sitting in a cafe savoring every sip of a latte & watching as people walk by? Maybe its doing a meditation - searching into the depths of your own mind, getting to know yourself better? In what ways this week could you schedule a date with yourself? How does this make you feel when you think about actually scheduling dates with yourself? I know that many of us in this healing/becoming journey, spend a lot of time with ourself doing our rounds or using our tools for healing - but I truly truly encourage you to think outside of the scope of healing tools & modalities… life is about creating and living… what ways outside of that time could you spend with yourself that would feel like really quality time for you? What comes up for you as you think about scheduling in a date for yourself? Do you instantly know what you would want to do, or feel like you wouldn’t even know what you would truly enjoy by yourself? Just notice.
So that is the end of o