Have you heard of The Five Love Languages?
I’m guessing yes given the best-seller status of the book, but if not, here’s the rundown.
Gary Chapman, the author, posits that there are five ways that we can show love to each other, and especially toward a romantic partner: through gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, act of service, and physical touch.
The idea is that each of us has a dominant love language, or way we are best able to receive love. If our partner shows their love in a language we don’t ‘speak’ well then we might end up feeling uncared for or unloved. The trick, Chapman argues, is to understand each others love language and do our best to communicate accordingly. Some people feel loved when they are given quality time while others interpret physical touch or gifts as an affirmative signs.
I think this theory has a lot of value AND I think we need to take it with a big grain of salt. I’m not sure that love can be simplified so easily, but it’s valuable to note that we all experience it uniquely.
Switching subjects for a minute, let’s talk about our bodies and how we feel about them. It’s a pretty body-unfriendly swamp that we’re swimming in. Everywhere you looks are shame-inducing messages, overt and subliminal, targeted at our natural and diverse forms.
As a life coach and woman who practices self-love, I know just how much our relationship with our body determines how fulfilling our life is overall. Seriously, what’s possible for a woman who is body-kind is two-fold to what’s possible to those ensnared in body-loathing.
So what does body love and The Five Languages of Love have to do with each other?
Lately I’ve been finding my way more and more to my yoga mat. I haven’t been doing 90-minute power flow, but instead focused, gentle, attuned asanas that my body asks for. The other day in one such practice my mind drifted to The Five Love Languages and how they might apply to our relationship with our bodies.
And if they could apply, was I communicating primarily with one love language and what language did my body speak?
Here are the questions I began to ask myself:
Do you give your body gifts? Do you find yourself making kind purchases with your body’s care in mind? What’s the last gift you gave your body?
Do you give your body your time? Do you leave space in your life for your body to be heard and cared for? When is the last time you spent quality time for your body?
Words of Affirmation
Do you speak kindly towards your body? Are the messages you surround your body with loving? What’s the last generous and sweet thing you said to your body?
Acts of Service
Do you consider yourself your body’s advocate and caregiver? When was the last time you went out of your way to do something for you body?
Do you lay your hands on your own flesh? Do you do so with love? Do you provide your body with opportunities for caring and loving touch from another? When was the last time your body felt that it had been touched “enough” or to the point of “fullness”?
This line of inquiry was powerful for me and it opened me up to all the ways I could expand my body-love practice. So interesting to see where we easily give love and where we have blind spots.
If you want to communicate your body through a broader range of love languages, here are a few ideas:
Purchase a foam roller and use it to loosen up with myofacial release.
Treat your body to a coveted care product, be it lotion, massage oil, or scented soap.
Offer your body clothing that makes you feel good, comfortable, and stylish.
Dedicate 10 minutes in the morning to scanning your body with presence and curiosity.
Allow your body to write you a letter in your journal.
Take a nap, regularly.
Words of Affirmation
Commit to one day of body-positive talk towards yourself.
Put up affirming words on your walls, bathroom mirror, or refrigerator door.
Come up with a mantra to recite every time you are feeling anything less than loving towards your body.
Acts of Service
Advocate for your body to another. Make a request. Make your body’s desires known.
Cook for your body. Prepare homemade food that delights all your senses and your belly.
Take your body to see the doctor or dentist for a routine check-up.
Massage yourself with sesame oil after a shower.
Try out a new type of bodywork, such as craniosacral or Thai massage.
The trick here, if this inquiry interests you, is to explore what makes your body feel loved?