Your Love Tank
Today, Valentine’s Day, is a great time to ponder this question, How full is your love tank?
Have you ever considered that you have a love tank? According to Gary Chapman, therapist and author of the classic book, The Five Love Languages, we all have an emotional love tank, invisible to the human eye but felt by the human heart.
So, the question, How full is your love tank? can also be translated, How loved does your heart feel?
On a scale of Empty to Full, how loved do you feel?
If it’s a great day then you might feel full. Just like the benefits of a full tank of gas, filled love tanks make you feel like you can go anywhere and do anything. The world is full of possibility and potential and you have lots of love to share with others. On good days you’re probably at least at half a tank, working well and treating others with kindness, but there’s not much margin if the wheels fall off your ride. And then there are sad days or seasons when you aren’t feeling seen, appreciated, or cherished which means you’re probably running on fumes.
My heart has experienced all these different levels of love based on my relationships at that time, the roles I was playing (ie. mothering can dry you up when you’re giving, giving, giving), and my own level of self-awareness.
What I’ve realized is that the secret to a full love tank is self-awareness, so let’s start there.
The 5 Love Languages
Every person has their own unique love language, a method of giving and receiving love, that when “spoken” will fill up that tank. The first step to filling up your tank or the tanks of your loved ones is to determine what your or their love language might be.
There are five love languages:
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
If you feel loved when someone washes the dishes for you or helps you out in a tangible way, you probably speak Acts of Service. If compliments and verbal encouragement make your heart swoon then you are a Words of Affirmation girl. If thoughtful gifts of any size make you feel loved and valued, then Gifts is your language. If a hug or some type of caring touch can absolutely make your day then you speak Physical Touch. And if just spending time with a loved one, whether sitting on the couch or chatting it up at Starbucks, gives you that wonderful feeling of connection, then you are a Quality Time gal.
Learn more here.
Owning Your Love Language
It’s important to understand how you receive love so that you can teach those around you what really matters to you.
You are responsible for getting your needs met.
It’s not your husband, your best friend, or even your mom’s job to fill your love tank. Other people are not supposed to read your mind and know what you need, especially when you have no idea. Understanding and admitting your needs is part of the humility of an authentic life, and yet as women we are socialized to ignore our own needs while caring for others.
Remaining ignorant to what you need is dangerous because it renders you helpless and powerless to fill your tank. But, if you understand what you need, because you’ve taken the time to reflect and observe, you’ll be able to seek out healthy sources of love like getting a pedicure or massage (Physical Touch) or hiring a housekeeper (Acts of Service).
You’ll also be able to request the love you need from others. Let them know a ten minute face-to-face conversation (Quality Time) means infinitely more to you than a bouquet of roses (Gifts). Let them know that vacuuming the living room (Acts of Service) says I love you even more than a great hug or kiss (Physical Touch).
Now, if the people that you request love from are unable or unwilling to provide it (I’ve been there too) stay tuned for next week’s blog, When No one Is Speaking Your Love Language.
Share the Love
As you get filled up, go out and share the love.
Become a student of your husband, your children, your parents, and your friends. Notice how they express love because it’s usually the same way they like to receive it. If they always buy you sweet little gifts or speak kind words to you, Gifts or Words of Affirmation may be their primary love language.
Notice what hurts your loved ones the most. Is it a lack of affection? (Physical Touch) Is it when they don’t get time with you? (Quality Time) Is it laziness? (Acts of Service)
Love languages are also Achilles heels, so the way your tank is filled is also the area in which you are most sensitive and vulnerable to a lack of love.
Imagine what your family or your workplace could be like if every one had a full tank? It’s kind of amazing to think about, isn’t it? While you can’t do all the work to make that happen (remember you were never designed to be everything to everyone), you can do your part. Own your love language and seek ways to fill your tank and then be on the look out for how you can gas up those around you.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope today your tank runneth over!