I think by now we’re all very aware of the term ‘self-love’ and ‘self-care’, as it is a phenomenon that has grown alongside the unfortunate rising rates of angst and mental health issues. We tend to spend so much time with our heads buried in our phones, engulfed in lives that aren’t our own, or bogged down with work, so much so that self compassion is miles away. It’s easy in this climate to underestimate the importance of showing yourself kindness, patience and compassion, or simply getting to know yourself and what it is that you enjoy. What works for one person won’t necessarily appeal to another, which is why experts have differentiated between 5 love languages that are commonly applicable to a significant other, yet they can just as easily be applied to one's self. Experimenting between which one of the 5 acts of service fulfils you the most is important in reaffirming your self-worth, and even better, they can be incorporated into everyday life.
Many people feel most fulfilled when they express or receive love through physical touch. This can include gentle movement, enjoying your favourite films wrapped up in your softest blanket, maybe treating yourself to a massage or facial! Further, take extra care when undergoing your skincare routine. Rather than mindlessly rushing through the application of cleansers or oils, really massage products into your skin in a circular motion. This will stimulate blood-flow, prevent creases in the skin and also calm the mind.
2. Words of Affirmation
Expressing self-love through positive affirmations reinforces the sense of empowerment and kindness. It is really important to appreciate and reassure yourself in order to solidify high self-esteem so that we can show up as our most confident selves. The way you compliment others? Do it to yourself too! Grab a journal, a post-it note, or write it down in your phone, anywhere that you can regularly be reminded of the mantras. Or, look in the mirror and compliment yourself; and be honest with yourself! You’re beautiful, you’re kind, you’re special. Whatever comes to mind, or whoever you aspire to be. Find a set of mantras, and repeat them to yourself everyday.
3. Quality Time
This one may seem self-explanatory, but it’s definitely something that is underestimated. Quality time. Spending time with yourself, doing something that you enjoy, for yourself! Spend some quality time away from Instagram and Netflix and ASOS and practice things you love and bring you happiness, such as your favourite hobbies or meditation. Just 5 minutes a day of meditation can have insane impacts on your wellbeing. Read a book; find a genre that you can truly escape in, stimulate the brain with a non-fictional memoir. Throughout the pandemic, colouring books grew in popularity as a mindfulness tool! Or, incorporate both physical touch and quality time into your skincare routine.
4. Acts of Service
Expressing self-love through acts of service means doing something for yourself that makes you feel good, something that you would thank someone doing for you such as helping with the dishes, or making you a cup of tea. This may appear to be a more tedious love language, but it’s the gratification after the act where the compassion flourishes. Examples include making yourself a to-do list, clearing / cleansing your space, making yourself your comfort meal, washing and oiling your hair, or even helping others which tends to make us feel good about ourselves.
5. Receiving Gifts
Gift-giving is symbolic of love and affection for someone with this love language. We deserve gifts just as much as our loved ones; investing in yourself by treating yourself to something you want can boost your mood, leaving you feeling happier and fulfilled. Make a wish list, and every so often don't hesitate to invest in a gift for you, from you. Maybe you’re in need of some new practical shoes that you begrudge buying; invest! That pamper day? Go for it. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Buy yourself flowers, or treat yourself to coffee and cake one afternoon. The satisfaction may be temporary, but buying gifts for ourselves invites enjoyment, something that you can look forward to, and thank yourself for.
Evidently, there are many ways to express some self-love, and in our busy day to day lives it’s so easy to forget to invest some much needed time in ourselves. Identify which love language is for you; it can be more than one! Start out by incorporating one act of self-love into your day and building up from there. By doing so, you’ll nurture your wellbeing, invite positivity into your life and you’ll have a better understanding of yourself and your needs.