What is your love language? Are you bolstered by words of affirmation? Is it a welcomed act of service? The surprise of small gifts? Is it the exchange of physical touch and affection? Or maybe it’s just some good quality time that fills your cup.
Think about how you best receive love from others; how it speaks to you the clearest; when you feel the most seen, cared for, adored. Is it the same as how you express your love onto others?
Interpretation and translation
Do we tend to speak our own love language — expressing to others what we wish to receive for ourselves — or might we be bilingual when it comes to loving connection?To some degree, doesn’t love require us to be well-versed in all five languages? After all, what we might be expressing as love may not translate as such. We might be gifting when what’s needed is quality time.
Now, does that matter?
As I experience more and more the complexities of the translation of love languages — whether with partners, or parents, or friends — a question has come to light, one I am continuing to unpack and admittedly don’t have resolve for. The question is, if someone is expressing a different love language than the one that we understand best, is that love really any lessened? It’s a question of intention versus impact. Similar to speaking foreign languages, “I love you” means the same in Spanish as it does in English even if it doesn’t sound the same. But is it being heard if it’s not understood? Is the intention enough or is the key to reaching true intimacy in all of our relationships understanding the individual love languages of the people closest to us?
Nobody’s closer to you than yourself
The opening image of a tweet by Black Ashley asking “Do you love yourself in your love language?” popped up on my Instagram last week. It blew my mind and my heart wide open. What a question! And also, why hadn’t I asked myself it before? This question feels like the all encompassing tone for what I wish for us all this Valentine’s Day. No purchase necessary. Just the self-given gift of space for reflection, to come back to ourselves, to ask “how can I love me best”.
Below are a series of reflection questions for you to journal to or simply carry with you through your day to ponder. Questions for getting clear, for translating and interpreting your own needs to yourself. I’m always discovering more ways to romance myself and what calls to me is probably different for you. Like me you may also find that your love language may evolve over time. Where is your heart at this phase of you life?
1. Under what love language light does your own heart shine brightest? Acts of service, words of affirmation, gift giving, quality time, physical touch and affection. Your answer can certainly include more than one.
2. In what ways do you most like to experience this/these?
3. How do you currently express this to your self? In other words, how do you love yourself in your love language(s)?
4. When and how do you feel most at home in your body?
5. If you don’t feel like you have an answer to question three, what are some ways you would like to start expressing your love language to yourself? Perhaps draw some inspiration from your answer to question four. For example, if your love languages are gifts and physical touch, a desire might be “gifting myself a new body butter to massage my body before sleep.”
And finally, I’d like to share with you a page out of Hina Luna’s Wax + Wane zine On Earth And Color — (call this a gift from me that you can use as words of affirmation to yourself ♥︎)
A Declaration Of Self Love
I am committed to radical self acceptance and love.
I treasure every part of me.
Body. Heart. Mind. Spirit.
I honor all that it means to have a tender heart in this world.
I prioritize taking care of all parts of my self.
I allow myself plentiful rest.
I am worthy and I am enough.
I have autonomy over myself and am also a mindful part of the greater collective.
I honor my body, in all of its levels of ability, as an altar to my ancestors.
I am an incarnation of all who have come before me, and I am my own.
I honor my body for all of the ways it houses my spirit.
I am human, therefore I am creative.
I accept and celebrate my life as a work in process.
I commit to keeping my heart and mind open.
I will not abandon my love and acceptance of my self, unless when I do, then I will forgive myself and offer myself my love again.