The Love Language of Words of Affirmation
Our words have power.
They help us tell stories, make people laugh and move us forward. And in the case of love languages, they can make the people most important to us feel loved and appreciated.
It’s no surprise, then, that words of affirmation are one of the five love languages.
At its core, words of affirmation are all about open communication and expression. It’s about using your words to compliment, reassure and empower your loved one or yourself. Whether you’re speaking face-to-face, over the phone or in writing, there are endless opportunities to make it clear how you feel about someone.
And that can make all the difference.
What makes for words of affirmation?
For most of the other love languages, actions speak louder than words. Not for words of affirmation, though. In the case of this love language, it’s what loved ones say to each other explicitly that makes all the difference.
Clarity is key here. It’s all about sharing openly and honestly exactly how your loved one makes you feel or what you love most about them. And that’s not just saying those three little words, though (although they’re still important). Compliments, recollections of reasons they made you smile, saying how much you appreciated a thoughtful gesture they did for you – they all add up to a more meaningful connection. Even the little affirmations can go a long way. “I’m thinking of you”. “You’ve got this”. “You did amazingly”.
Perhaps more than anything else, words of affirmation are made special by sincerity. It’s the combination of open communication and genuine intention that makes all the difference. You don’t need to be grabbing a megaphone and shouting from the streets why you love someone. If it’s delivered from your heart, it’s going to warm theirs.
How do I know if this is my primary love language?
Does it make you feel good when someone you care about pays you a compliment, or lets you know how much they appreciate you? Are you the sort of person that likes to wake up to a good morning text, or feel more at ease when the person you’ve just started dating openly tells you they like you? If so, there’s a good chance that words of affirmation is your primary love language.
While it’s a common misconception that words of affirmation are used only to alleviate anxiety or insecurity, you’d definitely admit that you get a rush of positive energy when your partner’s name pops up on your phone, or they say something sincerely kind about why they enjoy spending time with you. Compliments from your boss at work, or from friends and family are just as impactful – even a thoughtful message written in a birthday card can lift your spirits and fill you with a rush of love.
And much in the same way that you feel more loved receiving these sorts of spoken or written gestures, your natural inclination would be to do the same to someone you care about. You understand just how much impact your words have. And you always try your best to express how much your partner, family and friends mean to you, or send compliments or positive thoughts their way to brighten their day.
How can I make someone who speaks this language feel loved?
In short – use your words. Don’t keep the things you value most about your loved one to yourself. Lean into the vulnerability of expressing how you feel and see just how much their face lights up. If they’ve gone to the trouble of dressing up for an occasion, let them know how great you think they look. If they’ve worked hard at a job, tell them how awesome they are at their work.
Remember, someone who speaks this love language doesn’t just want to hear a constant stream of compliments. They want to feel valued. Appreciated. Respected. And if you seize the opportunities to share that in ways that feel authentic and well-deserved, you’re likely to form a stronger connection. Something as simple as sending them a good morning text, or cheering them on if they accomplish a new fitness goal, can work wonders.
The words of affirmation love language isn’t always about speaking, either. Sometimes it’s about writing instead. Taking your time to write your thoughts into a well-considered letter or card – so that someone you care about has a tangible token of that love.
And it’s about listening, too – hearing when a loved one expresses doubt, or uncertainty, or concern. And then playing that back to them if you’re attempting to help them overcome it. Take the time to acknowledge that their feelings are valid and express that understanding.
Words of affirmation as a form of self-love
Few love languages can be as easily applied to the love you give yourself as words of affirmation. Your best asset? Spoken or written affirmations. They’re the perfect practice to harness the power of words and welcome positivity into your life.
Whether you want to start your day by motivating yourself to make the most of it, remind yourself just how deserving you are of love, or nurture the relationship you have with your body, there are all kinds of opportunities you can use affirmations and give yourself an immediate dose of self-love. Keep your favourite written affirmations around the house, or speak them out to yourself while applying your skincare as a morning or evening ritual.
Embracing the power of words – and staying open to putting those words out into the world – can lead to all kinds of amazing things. For the relationships you have with other people. And certainly for the relationship you have with yourself.
Curious to find out more about the other love languages? We introduced them here.