Speak your own Love Language...don’t wait for someone else to do it.
In 1995, Gary Chapman released his book "The 5 Love Languages" and it took my world by storm.
I raised my family with Gary Chapman and The 5 Love Languages. Sheri, my mom, brought it home, consumed it and then began teaching all of us its principles. She taught our extended family, her neighbors, her ward, her stake, surrounding stakes, school faculties, school students and parents, everybody she could. She gave the book out as a wedding present for years. To anyone who would listen, she would evangelize its teachings. She drummed up a lot of business for Mr. Chapman that he didn’t even know about. Mom was good at teaching it and we bought into it. When Mom passed away, we had a memorial/celebratory event called “Sharing Sheri” and we taught The 5 love languages one more time in her honor.
The book operates on the theory that there are five primary love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. We each have one or two dominant ones; and it’s important to understand them, how they rank, and how they need to play into our relationships. It equips you to figure out your love language and then tell others to love you this way. He postulates that we all have a “love bucket that needs filling,” and that when others speak our love language, our bucket fills up and we feel and then do better.
I worked believing in this premise for 25 years and now I question it. It doesn’t sit completely right anymore.
The 5 Love Languages are helpful in appreciating a different perspective, i.e. a different love language. But the love languages aren’t a pre-set wiring that we can ONLY feel love this one way. In fact, Gary Chapman, himself, says we all want all of these ways of love. That said, it’s important not to pigeon hole yourself or your spouse into a certain love language and assume you have no control over your behavior.
YOU HAVE ABSOLUTE CONTROL.
I believe learning love languages is a part of the love puzzle, and it’s a good awareness piece -- but that’s it.
The 5 Love Languages can feel like a set of rules or a “manual” we have for others on how they should behave towards us so we can feel loved and it’s a rather limiting belief system. In other words, “I don’t feel loved unless someone does service for me,” (limiting belief) and “I need you to do service for me… it says that in my love language, so you should do that so I can feel loved” (a manual).
If I’m telling my spouse how I expect him to show his love for me and waiting around to feel that love only if he does it the way I tell or expect him, I am now the victim of my life. I’ve given away my power.
I can WANT my love language served up my way, but I don’t NEED it for me to feel love. I feel love because of WHAT I’M THINKING.
I love my little babies and it’s all in my thoughts surrounding them because my babies don’t speak my love language, do nothing for me and meet none of my needs.
I’m a gifts girl according to my love language, but I know that love comes from my own thoughts not if my spouse gives me a gift.
Thoughts, my friends, create our feelings...not someone speaking our love language.
Love, unconditional love and self love, all comes from our thoughts- and these feelings come from inside of us, not from outside sources or people showing love for us-- no matter what our love language is. This is Truth. I am the only one who feels my love. I can’t put my love on anyone else. I can’t physically give it away. When I have loving thoughts, I feel love and then I act certain ways and other people may have thoughts about my actions that create feelings of love for them, but that’s their business. I love for me because it feels so good. When I withhold my love from someone, I’m the only one that feels that as well. Unconditional love for all of God’s creatures is for me. I have loving thoughts toward all of the flawed humans and recognize my own flaws and love all of that and then I just feel better.
With my new understanding of how feelings and emotions really work (Thoughts produce Feelings which move us to Actions and then to Results we get in our life),
this beloved book has come to need a new translation. One that makes more sense.
So …… I’m re-translating these 5 love languages.
What if we spoke all of these languages to ourselves? That’s what self love would really look like. We would fill our own love buckets up then have so much to share with others. We would show up different in our world if we were filled with loving thoughts.
If you think loving thoughts by receiving GIFTS: You can get your own gifts. Plan and take care of your Christmas, Birthday, Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. This way you’re never disappointed and anything else you receive is just a bonus! You can “label” many other things around you as gifts. A note in the mail, time spent with you, a book recommendation, going to lunch with friends are all gifts.
If you think loving thoughts by someone doing ACTS OF SERVICE: You can re-frame and see many other things in your life as acts of service. Running water, a home with electricity are all acts of service for you. You would not be happy without them, so be grateful for the service they provide. In fact, looking at your whole world through a lens of gratitude will aid you in finding out you are being served all of the time. You can put yourself first and say “No” to things you don’t really want to do so you can say “Yes” to the things that are important to you. You can serve others because you want to. You don’t need others to serve you to feel loved. You can stop judging yourself and others so harshly. You can clean your own space exactly to your specifications, get your own drink in a lovely cup so it’s exactly how you like it. You can be enough for you without working so hard to prove it to everyone else.
If you think loving thoughts by receiving WORDS OF AFFIRMATION: Remember this is an auditory/ visual love language. The words you consume will really affect you. Turn off the news or social media feed if you are falling into a comparison trap. What books are you reading? What music lyrics are you listening to? What podcasts? This is a verbal love language and you can seek out talking opportunities. This is also about positive self talk. Work on ridding the negative thoughts you have about yourself that flow through your mind. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, then don’t allow yourself to say it to you. Be nice to yourself.
If you think loving thoughts through QUALITY TIME: You can be in charge of filling your calendar. Lead out and schedule things with others, and take ownership of your calendar. That doesn’t mean fill it all up and be busy-busy...it means scheduling down time, fun time, and family time. You don’t want other people telling you what to do. You tell yourself what to do and what’s important to you by putting it on your calendar and honoring the time spent. Seek out opportunities to sit with yourself in meditation. Spend time with yourself doing hobbies and renewing talents. Be unplugged more.
If you think loving thoughts through PHYSICAL TOUCH: This is a tactile- sense love language. So be nice to your physical self. Wear comfy clothing that fits. Give yourself pedicures, spas, massages, gym time, work outs, time in nature. Reach out for your partner’s hand, or put a baby on your lap. Give and receive back scratches. Give 8 second hugs. Offer more hugs to people. If you have a favorite pillow or toilet paper, take it with you on vacation.
Speaking your own love language is all about the love you show to yourself that fills your “love bucket” up. Then you show up more loving towards others in your life and that’s a beautiful way to live.
It’s interesting information to know what your love language is but don’t wait around for anyone to speak it. Ever. You can do it. Begin by loving you.
Afterthought: If we can open our hearts with curiosity and compassion and give everyone the benefit of the doubt and remember we are all flawed humans having human experiences, we can see love pouring out of everyone. We can translate all of their doings into love. Just like a boomerang, what we give out we get back, so send out LOVING THOUGHTS and you will continually feel it.