• Gravity Magazine

What’s Luv? Or Whatever Ashanti Said…

By Jasmyne Hinson

Love is a phenomenon we all strive to understand, experience, and explain. We struggle to find the words to encompass what exactly love is, but nine times out of ten we associate it with flowers, chocolates, and other grand gestures of romantic extravagance.

And we’ve all heard the term: “you can’t love someone else until you’ve learned to love yourself” but no one ever talks about what that means, what that looks like, or the fact that the way I love myself may be completely different than the way you love yourself. Which brings me to ask “What’s Luv” look like to you from you?

Knowing your love language is the first and probably most important step in figuring this out. The concept is typically applied to romantic relationships in order to feel better appreciated by a significant other and communicate your needs effectively, but why not apply those same gestures of appreciation towards yourself?

The 5 love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. The language resonates best with you is the language you should be using to prioritize yourself. Here are a couple ways you can practice self-love depending on your love language:

Words of affirmation: Record yourself saying words of affirmations and mantras for a rainy day. Phrases like “I am loved, I am beautiful, I am worthy” are oftentimes the little pick-me-ups you might need if this is your love language. I also recommend writing yourself a love letter, all the things you love about yourself in one place and reading it back when you need it.

Quality time: We could all use some alone time, but if this is your love language then you might need it a little more than everyone else. Make sure you’re setting time aside to spend time with yourself. Watch tv, do some yoga, read a book, but most importantly bask in YOUR presence. What do you like to do when there’s no one else around?

Gifts: This one’s a little self-explanatory, but just as valid as all the others. Don’t wait on someone to buy you flowers when you know you can treat yourself! Or, another idea is to write a list of all the gifts you would get yourself if you could, big or small. Even the act of planning to get gifts fulfills this love language because you’re essentially acknowledging and celebrating how worthy and deserving you are. Celebrate your greatness!

Acts of service: Get out your to-do list and start crossing things out. What can make your life easier next week? Do your future self a favor, get it done now, and pat yourself on the back once it pays off later!

Physical touch: Meditation and/or prayer are actually great ways to fulfill this love language by yourself. In addition, investing in some fuzzy blankets, a massage, and nice smelling lotions are all great ways to show yourself some TLC.

Prioritizing and loving yourself with intention is so vital to grounding yourself. Especially as black women and/or women of color, it’s very easy to go through stages of life feeling unappreciated, unseen, and unmotivated. The very least we can do for ourselves is be there for ourselves.

In February, I hope you all found ways to love yourself a little extra both for Valentine’s Day and for Black History Month. You’re beautiful, you’re worthy, and you absolutely deserve it.

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