Something happened to me recently that reminded me of the importance of the 5 Languages of Love – and it got me thinking about how a lack of the right kind of love manifests itself and what you can do about it. Let me explain….
Since starting up my business, I have wanted to be featured in Muddy Stilettos (muddystilettos.co.uk), a brilliant local guide that started as a fantastic blog covering Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and that has now grown into a multi-territory UK franchise. When Hero, the editor, agreed to have a treatment with me to then write a review of my services, I should have been elated.
But I was terrified. What if she wrote something negative? What if a negative review destroyed my business in the local area? What if my services just weren’t her thing?
I felt so anxious about it that I nearly cancelled the appointment. But I thought about what an opportunity I’d be passing up if I cancelled, so I took a deep breath and went ahead. On the day I was incredibly nervous, determined not to say or do the wrong thing. But as we settled into our counselling work, I forgot that Hero was here to review my services. She simply became another client with whom I connected on a deep level. After our Reiki work, we even had a mini life planning session on the doorstep as we said our goodbyes. All my nerves had faded away. I could just be me.
A few months later, her review appeared. It was brilliant and I could not have been happier. When I read her kind words, it felt like it was my wedding day. I was buzzing! I hadn’t realised how much I needed someone to tell me that I was doing a good job. That’s when it hit me: my love tank needed topping up.
What’s a love tank?
Each of us has an emotional tank inside of us that is filled with love. Love can be expressed in many different ways but each of us has a love language or languages that we understand most easily. When we receive love in the language we understand, our tank is filled. When it’s not, we run on empty.
The five languages of love, as defined by author Gary Chapman, are:
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- physical touch
I know that what fills up my love tank are words of affirmation and physical touch. But as a self-employed, single mother I don’t get much of either. I have no boss telling me I’ve done a good job. There aren’t any performance appraisals. I have no partner giving me affection or telling me nice things…
And yes, I have my child who I adore and who loves me in return, but like many mothers know, we get love by proxy. In other words, when we give our children a hug or stroke their hair, we feel loved even though we are the ones giving the love rather than getting it. When I embrace a friend or gently tuck a client’s feet in a blanket as they relax into their session, I am getting love and touch by proxy – giving it and therefore receiving something in return.
But it’s not quite enough. Sometimes we need to experience love directly, in a love language that we understand. Reading Hero’s words about me was exactly the affirmation I needed to feel loved and happy. She was speaking my love language. (On the flip side, giving of gifts is not my love language but I wanted to thank her for her article, so I sent her some flowers – but failed to add a card!)
Everyone has a specific love language that resonates with them, a particular language they understand better and communicate more effectively in.
Once we understand what our love language is, we learn more about ourselves. And once we understand what makes us happy, we can take responsibility for our happiness. This is particularly true when you reach your mid-forties and go through what many people call a mid-life crisis, but which I like to think of as mid-life enlightenment. It’s your time to look at your life and get greater insight into who you are and what makes you happy. And then take responsibility for making it happen!
How do you know if you have an empty love tank?
An empty love tank can manifest itself in many ways. Here are a few:
- Depression: you feel down, unloved and / or unlovable
- Weight issues: you eat to find the comfort and love that you’re not getting elsewhere
- Relationship issues: your partner may be trying really hard, but because you’re speaking different love languages you’re not feeling loved
- Feeling lost: not knowing what you want to do with your life and lacking direction may be a result of not knowing what makes you happy.
I can help you in all of these areas. If you would like help figuring out what your love languages are, how a lack of love is potentially affecting your life and what you can do to fix that, get in touch.
Until then, why not share in the comments what you think your love language is and how full your love tank is right now?