HANDOUT: Using Love Languages for Self-Care and Self-Soothing
Have you heard about the “5 Love Languages“, as developed by Dr. Gary Chapman? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know much about it, as I’ve never read his books. I recently learned that he’s a controversial figure, on account of using this concept to justify problematic behaviour in relationships. Please know that I don’t support Chapman’s views on that and there is nothing wrong if this doesn’t resonate with you.
I first shared this post a while ago with a free handout you can download and use. Recently I gave it a fresh new look and decided to share it again. I know sometimes it’s hard to cultivate self-care practices and incorporate them to our rutines, so I think this can be a valuable tool to help you do that.
What I know about this concept is that it centres around the idea that we all express love and receive love best according to different “languages”: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Affection, and Gifts. Depending on what your language is, you’ll prefer to connect to others in different ways.
I love this example using tacos to explain the idea of these languages in a very simple (and funny, I think!) way:
How can we use the languages to care for ourselves?
When I first heard about love languages, I started playing with it: what are my love languages? What about my partner’s? But then, I also realized that knowing what makes me feel loved could help me show love to myself. In other words, if you know how to feel loved, you could use that knowledge to find ways to help yourself feel cared for and how to self-soothe.
Knowing how to do this is important, because it can help you take care of yourself and regulate the intensity of your experience. It’s all about our ability to let ourselves know we’re not alone, and to calm down when big things happen for us. Just like someone might do for a child or a friend going through a rough time, we can do the same thing for ourselves.
If the above makes sense, the invitation is this: figure out what your language is, if you don’t already know. There are many quizzes online for this, if that makes it easier for you (this is the official one). You can also figure it out on your own, or maybe ask a loved one to help.
Once you know how you express and receive love best, you may choose to download and fill out a free handout I made with a couple of self-care and self-soothing suggestions for each language and the space to write down your own. You can download this in English or a version in Spanish, and print it out so you can look at it everyday!
I grew up speaking Spanish. English is my second language. When I communicate in English, I make mistakes. I've chosen to let my writing reflect the kind of mistakes I make when speaking, so that you have an idea of what it might feel like to talk to me. I trust the message is still clear but, if it's not, please don't hesitate to ask me for clarification.
The information provided on my blog is a mix of my personal thoughts, professional approach, and articles related to mental health. The purpose of sharing all of this is to communicate the models at the core of my practice, as well as to provide education. I hope this will help to minimize some of the power imbalances related to my profession. The articles on this blog should not be considered as professional advice for any one person or group of people. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of this content for you, please contact a qualified mental health professional.