The Five Languages of Body Love
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 look are shame-inducing messages, overt and subliminal, targeted at our natural and diverse forms.
As a life coach and woman who seeks to practice self-acceptance and respect, 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-respectful 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?
A lot. I’ve noticed that there are periods when we either communicate with our body through only one language or not through the language our body is asking us to love it through. To explore this further, here are the questions I began to ask myself and that you might find useful.
Do I give my body gifts? Do I find yourself making kind purchases with my body’s care in mind? What’s the last gift I gave my body?
Do I give my body my time? Do I leave space in my life for my body to be heard and cared for? When is the last time I spent quality time with my body?
Words of Affirmation
Do I speak kindly towards my body? Are the messages I surround my body with respectful and/or loving? What’s the last generous and sweet thing I said to my body?
Acts of Service
Do I consider myself my body’s advocate and caregiver? When was the last time I went out of my way to do something for my body?
Do I lay my hands on my own flesh? Do I do so with love? Do I provide my body with opportunities for caring and loving touch from another? When was the last time my 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-respectful 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 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.
Make love to yourself or with a partner.
The trick here, if this inquiry interests you, is to explore what makes your body feel loved?