Site moved to, redirecting in 1 second...

« Healthy Movement Resources and Examples from the White Picket Fence Staff | Main | Your Body is Your Friend »


The Love of Friendship

People say love a lot, especially at this time of year when Valentine’s Day is approaching. Instead of focusing on red hearts and romance, let’s instead look at the love of friendship. Friendship requires kindness and compassion, qualities that are also very important in how we relate to ourselves.

The more freely we can express kindness, compassion and friendship, the more harmoniously we can live together as humans, and the better we feel about ourselves.

Relationship problems are commonly an underlying issue behind disordered eating and other substance abuse problems, problems at work, and difficult emotions such as depression, frustration and anger.

If our relationships with self and others are more peaceful, we feel better about ourselves and there are fewer reasons to use an addictive substance or act out.

One approach to improving our relationships is to investigate the “love languages” that the other people in our lives are speaking, and how those compare to the love language we use. The concept of love languages was presented in a book by Gary Chapman, as I described in an earlier blog post about building relationships:

The premise of The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, is that we all have different ways of expressing ourselves in relationships. We learn a love language as we grow up, but then we may learn other ones as we grow a bit older and independent of our families. People will automatically give love in the way they're used to receiving it, or in the way they like to receive it, and that can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings and conflict.

Chapman's five love languages are: words of affirmation (kind, loving statements about the other person), quality time (spending time together and being attentive to the other person), receiving gifts (small or large, gifts that are meaningful to the person receiving them), acts of service (taking care of things for the other person) and physical touch (small gestures, sexual intimacy, massages or a simple pat on the shoulder).

Do you know which love language you speak? More importantly, do you know how the other people in your life feel loved? Are you being a kind, compassionate friend to yourself and others by using their preferred love language?

Over this month, we’ll look at how being a good friend to yourself and others can enhance your recovery from an eating disorder or unhealthy behaviors around food and exercise.