You love in a completely unique way. 

Chapman’s theory of the 5 love languages – and Truity’s 7 Love Styles – both describe the way you like to receive and give love. They’re usually applied to romantic relationships and outward love. But it may surprise you to learn that love languages can be effective tools for self-development and inward love, too. 

In fact, understanding and appreciating the love language you use with yourself not only helps you practice self-love and self-compassion, it is the route to healthier relationships with other people.

As the saying goes, the most important relationship you’ll have is your relationship with yourself. Here’s how to use the love languages for self-development to help you be the best version of you. 

1. Words of affirmation - quiet your inner critic

If your love language is words of affirmation, you can show yourself love by thinking more about the words you use to talk to yourself. If you tend to be self-critical, practice talking to yourself with kindness and positivity.

Use words of affirmation for self-development through journaling. Try to develop a habit of journaling every day. You can write freestyle or follow daily prompts, such as what you’ve learnt, what you’re most proud of, what you’re grateful for and what you’re looking forward to the next day. Talk to yourself the way you talk to the people you love most in the world. You might be surprised by what happens.

People with words of affirmation as their dominant love language can also benefit from using daily affirmations. Find affirmations that are self-positive such as ‘I love every part of myself’ or ‘I appreciate all the ways I’m unique.’ You can also highlight specific qualities you love about yourself.

2. Acts of service - look after yourself first

When you prioritize acts of service in your relationships, you often put the needs of others above your own. But you can also turn this love language inwards. Try to treat yourself to acts of service through daily self-care. 

Think of it as doing something good for your body and your mind. Personal acts of service can include eating well, working out, decluttering your home and pampering yourself. It can also encompass financial health like budgeting, sorting out your taxes and creating a plan to get out of debt. In fact, Truity’s 7 Love Styles include Financial love as a category in its own right.

These acts are all really important for self-development and self-love. By prioritizing healthy habits, you’re performing acts of service that will benefit you long-term, while also creating a healthier, stronger relationship with yourself. Self-care is the ultimate act of self-love.

3. Gift giving - treat yourself

For anyone with gift giving as their primary love language, the route to self-love is a pretty clear one! But as well as treating yourself to small gifts and luxuries, you can also use the gift-giving love language for self-development too.

Use your gift-giving tendencies to invest in education and self-improvement activities like enrolling in a new course or class that you’ve always wanted to try. Try learning a new language, taking up a hobby or taking a professional development course. You can also gift yourself experiences like travel or trips to see a concert or play.

Remember, gift giving doesn’t have to mean blowing all your savings on extravagant purchases. You can show your gift-giving self some love with the smallest gestures, like treating yourself to a croissant for breakfast instead of your usual cereal! It’s the small things…

4. Quality time - make time for self development

When was the last time you took yourself on a date? If your love language is quality time, it might be time to start investing more in activities that involve you and no one else. 

Practice self-love by carving out space in your schedule for yourself. That includes your hobbies, passions and random activities that you enjoy. Maybe you spend a whole afternoon building legos or take a solo trip to an art gallery. Maybe you choose to spend the weekend cosying up at home baking cookies, watching your favorite movies and having an early bedtime. Find the self-care activities you love most and dedicate time to being alone.

This can be hugely beneficial for helping you to reconnect with yourself, especially if you’ve been busy spending time on your relationships with other people. Indulging in time alone can give you the space to clear your thoughts, work through emotions and just have fun.

5. Physical touch - show self-love through touch

When thinking about physical touch as a method for self-love, you can work on ideas that involve investing time and energy into positive self-touch activities. Think stretching, exfoliating, moisturizing and massages. Spend time with yourself appreciating your body and nourishing your physical form with self-care activities that make you feel appreciated and loved. 

Physical touch depends a lot on your personal preferences. Maybe self-love physical touch for you takes the form of exercise or simply moving your body. Going for a run, heading to the gym or swimming can all be beneficial routes to self-love. You might also like to spend time on your skin care or an indulgent pre-bed routine. 

At the same time, activities that make you more aware of your body and engage your senses like going to a sauna, using aromatherapy oils or breathing exercises and humming meditation can all help you feel good and in touch with your body.

Use the love languages for more self love!

Love languages can be hugely beneficial for giving you an inside look at what makes you feel valued, loved and cared for. But they don’t have to be limited to your romantic relationships. Use your love languages to invest in your own self-care and development to become the best version of yourself. Love starts at home!

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at