My son and I aren’t speaking the same love language. I showed him love in the way I wanted to be loved instead of in the way he wanted to be loved.
Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, divides how we give and receive love into the following categories:
- Telling me you love me with words (Words of Affirmation)
- Doing thoughtful things for me (Acts of Service)
- Wanting to hold my hand and hug me (Physical Touch)
- Spending alone time with me (Quality Time)
- Giving me tokens and presents (Receiving Gifts)
Several weeks ago, my 12 year old son, Alex, brought home a worksheet he did at school that changed my world. It was a simple self-discovery quiz based on The 5 Love Languages using pictures to help children find out what their love language is. The worksheet showed cartoon illustrations paired with child-like acts of love.
In the category of words of affirmation, for example, my son specifically wanted love via a handwritten note in his lunch box. I was set on telling him how much I love him because I want my words of affirmation to be spoken. I told him this first thing every morning and then again when I dropped him off at school. When I corrected him, I reassured him that “I’ll always love him no matter what.” Thanks to the handout, I now hide notes in his lunch box. It’s the first thing he mentions when he gets in the car after school.
Ways You Can Love Yourself
Alex’s paperwork taught me something else, I can show love for myself in the exact way I need. I don’t need to wait until someone else decides to love me, I can love me well. Before recovery, I spent all of my time loving others. I knew that these loving beings would some day get around to loving me back. Some did. Some didn’t. When the ones who did returned the love, it was often in their love language and difficult for me to translate.
I can love myself by:
- Writing myself a love letter (Words of Affirmation)
- Hiring a maid to clean my house (Acts of Service)
- Getting a message (Physical Touch)
- Going to a movie of my choice (Quality Time)
- Buying myself flowers or candy (Receiving Gifts)
To practice giving myself the Love Language of Receiving Gifts I made myself some chocolate covered strawberries this weekend.
Co-dependent’s Chocolate Covered Treats
- One 16 oz. package of fresh strawberries OR marshmallows, pretzels, or candy canes
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (approximately half a bag)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- pink Himalayan sea salt
Wash the strawberries and then let them dry. They will take several hours to dry. Put the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 30 more seconds. Stir again. Dip the dry strawberries into the chocolate and then place on waxed paper to dry. Sprinkle the berries with sea salt. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets. Eat with a heart filled with gratitude and self love.
*This sauce also makes a delicious fondue, perfect for dipping nuts, other fruits, cookies, or even pieces of cake. Waiting for the chocolate to dry isn’t necessary. If you choose to dip other fruits, just be sure to pat them dry before dipping. If any juice or water gets into the chocolate, it will change the consistency and be difficult to work with.
Of all the people I have known, I’ve known myself the longest. I’ve never spent a day without me, so it only makes sense that the best love of my life should come from me.