Your Love Language
In honor of Valentines coming up, we are going to focus on love this month, but with a twist. We are going to dig into how you love…. YOU! Now before I continue or you assume otherwise this isn’t because I want to promote selfishness by any means, quite the opposite in fact.
We are better equipped to love and serve others when we have a healthy relationship with ourselves. When we are whole and healthy, our relationships are much more likely to be the same. It starts with us so it’s time we learn our own “love languages” to best love and care for ourselves first. Like the safety announcement says in airplanes “put on your mask first, then assist others.” For us to love well, it begins with loving ourselves well. Not selfishly, but intentionally so we have more to give. Today I think it is all too common that when we hear about “self love” we tune out because it typically does have this selfish skew. A bent toward “do whatever your heart desires” which we all know deep down doesn’t really lead us in the best place.
To set the foundation as we dig into this topic this month we need to first identify what healthy self love looks like and confirm that YES we must love ourselves well in order to love others well. No better place to start than with the Bible. It states in Matthew that we should: “love your neighbor AS yourself.”(emphasis mine). Most people focus on the first half of this statement. Loving our neighbors. Yes we need to love others and not be solely self focused. That is egocentric and very unhealthy. How often though do we gloss over the condition at the end of that sentence “AS yourself.” As Kris Vallotton says “How big is your AS?” Or another way to put it. How well do you love you? How you answer these questions can reveal a lot if you are willing to get daringly honest:
Can you be alone with yourself for an extended period of time and still have a good day?
If you had to say every thought you had toward yourself would you be accused of being abusive or a good friend to you?
If you were someone else, would you want to be your friend?
Many of the conflicts and issues we have today come from people being starved for affirmation and acceptance from others. While we do need connection (more on that at another time), we also need to know how to strengthen ourselves first. There is no better place to start than with love. This is not becoming overly independent and convincing ourselves we can love better than others can with out hurting us. All this angle of self love leads to is us avoiding relationships out of fear of getting hurt. There is also the flip side, being in denial we need to have a self love, that instead we become so desperate for connection we smother any and everyone that gives us attention. This really is the same issue but with a different expression. We use others either in pushing them away or trying to control them as a mechanism to sooth a deep desire we have for a feeling of value. Either way you slice it… people become a commodity not our community.
You can see how this can be very dangerous. We must tend to our own hearts first to be in a position where healthy relationships can happen naturally and with ease. It isn’t just a suggestion, but I think for our health, and the health of the relationships we have that must dig in and seriously ask ourselves the 3 questions I posed above.
Personally, I can be very critical and judgmental of myself. I am not that nice to me a lot of the time. I expect perfection more than I’d like to admit. Yet, in seeing the value of this principle of learning to love myself I have seen some significant improvement. I’m uncoupling from having to perform to feel valuable, I’m enjoying my own company more, and have to be intentional at seeing the areas in which I have grown and actually celebrate those. Or to put it another way, I’m learning how to extend grace to myself which makes me much more pleasant to those around me. Especially those closest to me.
Now I turn the question to you… How do you answer the questions above? Where do you need to begin to grow in how you love yourself next?
This journey is what it means to uncover your personal love language.
Happy Heart Hunting!