Each week Claire and I share with you something or someone interesting we have come across throughout the week, and this week I wanted to share with you a conversation I had with psychotherapist Charlotte Braithwaite. 
  There is a book I read called "The 5 love languages" which I recommend to everyone! Basically, people have 5 ways in which they show and receive love, and it teaches you how to identify your partners love language (or anyone in your life really), so you can show them you love them in ways that they understand. Eg: some people receive love through quality time, whereas others through acts of service etc ... it is fascinating!
Anyway, Charlotte and I had a long chat about this book, she has adapted the teachings from Gary Chapman into helpful practices for her clients, and I wanted to share them with you today  - I hope you enjoy!  
‘Self Love’ Languages for Spiritual Wellbeing
Hello, I’m Charlotte, and as a psychospiritual psychotherapist and coach, I blend traditional psychology within a spiritual perspective to support people not only with their mental health, but also to find a sense of life meaning, purpose and value. My personal calling is to help people become the fullest expression of their human potential, and so here I am, sharing a really important part of that process!
Right now, when it feels like much of the world is in a state of crisis; when we are overwhelmed with news stories and headlines, it is more important than ever to take conscious care of ourselves: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. But often, it is our spiritual wellbeing that gets neglected when anxieties spike.
As the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin quoted, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Whether you identify with being ‘spiritual’ or not, as humans, an integral part of our wellbeing is feeling connected to ourselves and others. We are hardwired for love and belonging (nod to the inspirational Brene Brown) and ultimately, we feel most content, most connected, when we love and feel loved.
Which brings me onto one of the best books I have ever read: The 5 Love Languages written by Gary Chapman. In a nutshell, the book holds a common-sense approach that teaches you how to give and receive love in your spouse’s ‘language’..
‘But what if I am single?’ I hear you say...don’t worry, learning about Love Languages is still for you! It is essential for everyone!
As a psychotherapist, I believe that THE most important relationship you have is the relationship with yourself. If you are struggling to feel connected to yourself internally, then you will likely struggle to connect with others externally, and then relationships suffer.
The remedy - self-love! And by ‘self-love’, I don’t mean social-media-selfie-obsessed, I mean conscious, mindful practices that help you to feel nourished, wholesome and present: mind, body, feelings and spirit - that is true self-love. And when you are connected and loving towards yourself, your relationships at home, at work, with family, with friends...all flourish.
So, as a gift to you all, I have adapted Gary Chapman’s Love Languages, to create the 5 Self Love Languages! Offering a practical guide as to how you can consciously practice cultivating self connection and self love.  
1. Words of Affirmation
Be conscious of the words you use when talking to yourself…are your words building you up or knocking you down? Be your own cheerleader - talk to yourself as you would a friend: practice compassion, kindness and cheer yourself on in life Affirmations, mantras and inspirational quotes are a great way to internalise positive self talk
2. Acts of Service
Identify your needs and give yourself permission to receive them Simple acts of self care are the building blocks of self love: having a bath, eating nourishing food, getting enough sleep Be of service to others - be it helping a friend or volunteer work, we feel good when we are doing good
3. Quality Time
Allocate time away from technology. Even just 1 hour a day,  disconnect from the distractions of technology that contributes to feeling overwhelmed (and silent mode or screen down doesn’t count - put your phone in another room!) Create quality time with people you love via online catch ups (for now at least!) - nothing lights up our happy brain hormones than quality time with people we connect with Arrange a Date Night...with yourself! Put it in the diary and hold space for YOU - read a book, listen to a podcast, meditate...
4. Physical Touch
Show your body some love through exercise - mindful movement, yoga, dance or the gym; our bodies were made to move Take care of the skin you’re in - create your own little at-home pamper session or skin routine Wrap yourself in soft texture and fluffy blankets that feel comforting and cosy on your body
  5. Gifts
  Put aside some money to spend on a hobby or activity you enjoy
  Invest in your personal development with counselling, coaching or self help books
  Treat yourself to something that makes you feel special - I gifted myself recently with the Om & Ah pullover in the photo (I LOVE quotes so it doubles up on self-love through  Words of Affirmation!)
"What you think, you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine, you create." - Buddha
Self love works best with a holistic approach, so giving yourself a healthy dose of each ‘language’ is definitely encouraged. However, we do tend to have one or two favourites that particularly helps to boost our self connection and feel-good vibes.
You can take the official 5 Love Language quiz here to find out which ‘languages’ you identify with most - and what’s more, they have specific options for if you are in a relationship, single, for kids and for teens!
As therapist and relationship philosopher Esther Perel says: “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives”...and that begins with the relationship with yourself. Learning to give and receive love for yourself is not only crucial to your spiritual wellbeing, it is also one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and those around you.
Charlotte x
If you love our "What You Think" tees, we have linked the collection on the button below for you.
Charlotte has her own private practice ‘In COURAGE’ in Bedfordshire, but also offers counselling and coaching sessions online. If you would like to know more, you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for insights and musings on soul-centred psychology and join the In COURAGE community cultivating consciousness, self-connection and courage.