Do You Feel Loved? How a Full Love Tank Can Help with Healing.
Last updated: April 2021
Have you heard of the love tank? Does it make you want to stop reading? You shouldn’t.
I learned this concept from Dr. Campbell, the author of the five love languages. A book to help married couples communicate their love for each other better. I started skeptically, and after chapter three I was a convert.
So what does this have to do with psoriasis?
The love tank doesn’t just apply to couples. It refers to parents communicating their love effectively to their children, and friends expressing their love to each other. In languages they understand.
Why is love so important?
Living with psoriasis, we are more likely to experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts. We have times in our lives where our bodies feel like they hate us and we need the support of people who love us to give us the emotional support we need to get through the flares, and the days where we have just had enough.
The more relationships we have nurtured, the more people we will feel connected too. The more stable our network will be.
If you have a child with psoriasis, this is even more important. My parents didn't speak my primary love language-quality time- it was hard for them as working parents with three children. It meant that I held back from telling them the whole truth about how I felt about my skin. They communicated their love in other ways: acts of service and words of affirmation which helped me know I was loved, but when you speak someones primary love language- it makes your heart sing.
So what are the love languages?
1. Acts of service
My parents excelled at this. This is doing jobs to help the other person; like mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, cooking dinner. If you find yourself nagging your partner to wash the car on a Saturday, then this may be your love language. If you feel that him washing the car every Saturday shows you that your partner loves you, then this may be your primary love language.
2. Words of affirmation
My parents also excelled at this, but this doesn’t work in my relationship with my husband. When we tell each other that we love each other it feels kind, but neither of us feels more loved. For some people, positive words increase the amount they feel loved. It fills their ‘love tank’ and it's not just telling someone you like them, it's finding other positive things too. When I worked as a teacher I would do this all of the time; I would have something positive to say to every child in my class even if the only thing I could find was that they had remembered to underline the title. For some kids, this made a huge difference in their behavior in class.
3. Quality time
I know this is my primary love language because I could never explain to my husband why I got so angry with him when his defense to the accusation "we don’t spend any time together, you feel like a stranger" was met with an exasperated defense of... "what!? I sit and watch TV with you whenever you want. We could do this every night if you wanted- but you choose not too. I'm here if you want me."
Quality time involves being the center of attention for the other person. It's sitting at a dinner table with the phones turned off. It's going for a walk together and listening intently to what each other says. Its finding 15 minutes in the middle of a workday to meet for a quick coffee. It is not watching tv together or meeting friends at a play center. Being in the same space does not mean quality time.
I think quality time is really important too for us to open up about how we are feeling. It's much easier to admit that we're feeling lonely, or like we want to stay in bed all day when we're having a coffee with someone who isn't looking at their phone than it is during adverts midway through X-Factor.
4. Receiving gifts
I have a friend, she is relatively new on the scene, and she is one of the most generous and warm people I have ever met. The first time she came to my house, she brought dark chocolate, the second time she brought homemade energy balls in a Kilner jar, the third time she brought me a pot of dahl. I thought this was very generous, but we couldn’t share the Dahl, so I found the gift unusual but still beautiful. After reading about the love languages, I now understand why she isn't just thoughtful; her love language is gifts. I, therefore, need to reciprocate for her to feel equally loved in our friendship.
If you feel warmed by a gift of a moisturizer than maybe this is you? Because when people buy me moisturizer I find it hard to fake smile gratitude. Especially when it's full of artificial fragrances and/or comes with a lecture. Often both.
5. Physical touch (not to mistaken for the enjoyment of sex).
This is my secondary love language. It can be a message, or it can be an affectionate tap on the arm, or hand on the shoulder as someone puts down my cup of tea.
This is a very sensitive topic because not all touch feels loving. A smack on the bum regardless of intention feels hostile and invasive. Even when gently applied by my husband. Listen and learn! Some people hate their feet being touched, while for others it is the ultimate sign of love. Explore and find out. If your partner lovingly massages your flaky feet nighly then that's definitely love :-)
So this is how I have been exploring how the love languages work in my life. The book is so much better; there's nothing like hearing examples of how other people have applied this in their lives. I read the love languages for couples, but next? I am learning love languages for children. There is even separate love language for teens. I will read all of them. Why? When you feel loved, you are more grounded, more able to deal with stress, and feel more connected. Like you belong. In my opinion? That is more important than anything else.
With psoriasis, when you feel like you belong, you can relax, feel safe and this gives you the space you need to heal.
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