This is a language you should consider getting fluent in for a deeper connection with your partner, as you’ll understand how to converse with them in their own love language and vice versa.

In short, to learn love languages is to understand how to ​express love in the right language. Understanding how your partner and yourself communicate love is vital for you to blossom together in your relationship.

What are love languages?

The concept ‘love language’ is coined by relationship counsellor ​Gary Chapman​, author of ‘The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts’. After 35 years of marriage counselling, he concluded that there are five emotional love languages in which people understand and show love.

The five love languages depict how we feel loved and appreciated. Our personality type and our upbringing heavily impact our love languages, hence, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do. Everyone expresses love in all these 5 love languages, however, one or two may be more dominant than others.

As you work on decoding and understanding these different methods of expressing love, it will help take the frustrations and guesswork out of you and your partner’s needs and expectations for love.

Read on till the end to find out your own love language!

What are the different love languages?

  1. Words of Affirmation

This love language shows love using words that build up your partner. Your partner appreciates verbal comments and compliments more than any other actions.

  1. Acts of Service

The motto “Actions speak louder than words” encapsulates this love language. They feel appreciated and loved when their partner does things without being asked or by force of obligations.

  1. Receiving Gifts

This love language doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner is materialistic. It could mean that they feel love with a more tangible item. It’s less to do with the gift itself, but more to do with the sentimental value behind it.

  1. Physical Touch

A common misconception around this love language is that sex is the only way to connect; rather the act of ‘touching’ is what ‘Physical Touch’ is all about. Holding hands, hugs and kisses here and there would assure them of your love for them. They want to physically feel you close by.

  1. Quality Time

This love language prizes undivided attention above all else. Receiving undivided attention is this what ‘Quality Time’ values most. When you’re together, they want to be the centre of your attention.

How can you communicate them in your relationships and to yourself?

Words of Affirmation

In a Relationship:

  • Give genuine compliments
  • Use encouraging and uplifting words
  • Empathize when your partner’s hurt
  • Practice active listening
  • Send surprise texts, notes or cards
To Yourself:

  • Recite positive affirmations daily
  • Keep a gratitude jar
  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • Give yourself compliments
  • Listen to personal growth podcasts

Acts of Service

In a Relationship:

  • Make your partner’s favourite meal
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Help with your partner’s workload
  • Assist them with projects or chores
To Yourself:

  • Make your bed first thing after you wake up
  • Declutter and tidy up your place
  • Do one errand you’ve been avoiding
  • Keep a habit tracker using an app or in your journal
  • Learn to say ‘No’ to things that do not add value into your life

Receiving Gifts

In a Relationship:

  • Give thoughtful gifts, big or small
  • Make genuine gestures
  • Small tokens of appreciation
  • Celebrate special occasions together
  • Receive gifts enthusiastically
To Yourself:

  • Invest in your passion and hobbies
  • Treat yourself to small gifts after completing jobs or goals
  • Pick a flower bouquet for your table
  • Create personalized song playlists
  • Book a weekend getaway

Physical Touch

In a Relationship:

  • Normalize non-sexual touches with your partner
  • Prioritize intimacy
  • Sit close to each other
  • Take a walk and hold hands
  • Hug and kiss your partner often
To Yourself:

  • Work on your skincare routine
  • Sleep earlier for better rest
  • Pamper yourself with a haircut or doing your nails
  • Take a soothing bubble bath
  • Do a few stretches

Quality Time

In a Relationship:

  • Turn off phones / any distractions
  • Plan thoughtful dates
  • Have one-on-one conversations
  • Finish chores together
  • Set goals to achieve together
To Yourself:

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation
  • Go for a solo drive
  • Treat yourself to a nice dinner at your favourite restaurant
  • Listen to your favourite album on repeat

You can discover your own love language using this ​quiz​.

Every type of love language is important and conveys love in its own unique way. Learning the love language of your partner and your own self will greatly help build a stronger bond in your relationship.

What Is A Vision Board?

A vision board, also known as a dream board, is a collage of pictures and words that best represent your dreams and goals. It is a visualisation tool that helps you clarify, centre, and focus on what solidly matters to you. A common misconception of the vision board is that it works like a genie, whereby you will magically achieve whatever you have on your board. Rather, it works as a reminder of all the actions you should take in order for you to reach your goals.

Why Is It Effective?

The most effective way to achieve your goals is to keep them foremost in your mind – this way, you’re always aware of them, and it will have you unconsciously optimising your actions to move closer to them. This is where a vision board comes in, to prompt you to ​visualise​ your ideal life on a daily basis.

Visualization works! Not in the “hocus-pocus” kind of way, but by activating the subconscious part of your brain and programming it to become more aware. It allows you to notice the available opportunities and resources that you may have previously failed to.

This ​article​ proves the power of visualisation and how it has brought success to many Olympic athletes. You can also watch this ​video​ of Jim Carrey talking to Oprah Winfrey about him visualising success and then gaining it.

Create Your Own Vision Board

Now that we’ve covered the basics of this powerful tool, here comes the fun part – creating your own vision board!

  1. Develop a list of your goals and dreams. Ask yourself questions like:
  • What do you want more of in your life – love, money, happiness, health?
  • What job or promotion do you want?
  • What kind of people do you want around you?
  • What type of partner do you want to attract into your life?
  • What habits do you want to incorporate into your daily life?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What material things do you want to own – a new car, laptop, phone?Note: The key here is to be specific. If you’d like a new car, note down the model of the car and the colour that you want.
  1. Find pictures from the internet, magazines, photographs – anything that inspires you, including affirmations, inspirational words and motivational quotes. You may also want to consider adding photos of yourself and your loved ones smiling and being happy. This will have your brain associating the things that you want with the things you already have, generating good feelings.
  2. After you’ve collected all the materials you’d like to add to your board, you can either follow the traditional method of pasting it on a board, or just create a collage online and set is as your wallpaper! The point is to make sure that it is placed somewhere you can see every day.

To quote Oprah Winfrey, ‘If you can see it and believe it, it is a lot easier to achieve it”. A vision board will help, but it is not enough to make your dreams come true – you need to take the right actions to create the reality that you want to live in.

Humans have a built-in need for having relationships with other people; whether romantic, familial or friendships – they all count! ​Frans de Waal​, an evolutionary biologist, proved that​ we are social animals​ who have naturally evolved to care for each other. It is vital for our emotional and mental wellbeing, and essentially, for our survival. Cultivating good relationships with others begins with having a good sense of empathy.

So, what is empathy?

To put it simply, empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings and experiences, as well as show them compassion. It is being able to step in their shoes and view life from their perspective to understand their emotions. Empathy is right at the center of trusted relationships.

There are 3 types of empathy:

1. Cognitive Empathy

This type of empathy is concerned with thought, intellect and understanding. You understand how someone else is feeling without actually emotionally feeling it. It enables you to put yourself in others’ shoes, unaccompanied by your own emotions. This can also be described as ‘empathy by thought’, which helps in understanding multiple view points, negotiating and motivating others.

2. Emotional Empathy

Related to feelings, physical sensations and the mirror neurons in the brain, this kind of empathy allows you to share others’ emotional experiences. In a way, you have ‘caught’ their emotions as well – for example, you feel distress in response to seeing a TV show where the character is undergoing surgery.

3. Compassionate Empathy

This is an active form of empathy – there is not only concern for the other person, as well as sharing their emotional pain, but it also leans towards taking the steps to reduce it. It is consistent with what is usually understood about compassion.

 

In general, we want to acknowledge ​(cognitive empathy),​ as well as share others’ emotions and feelings ​(emotional empathy)​; but it is just as important to sympathise with what they’re going through and essentially, help them take action to resolve their problems – this is compassionate empathy.

It is important to understand that having empathy is a skill that you can cultivate to ensure you become more compassionate towards the people around you. It is not a fixed trait, meaning there are plenty of ways for you to strengthen your empathy.

How can you improve your empathy?

1. Put your own outlook aside.

We sometimes don’t realize this, but our own experiences and beliefs heavily influence the way we perceive situations and people. Taking a step back and putting our outlook aside may help us tune in better to the person speaking and focus on their issues in the moment.

2. Explore new environments.

You don’t need to go far – explore the next town, or have a chat with your next door neighbour. It’ll give you a better understanding of other people’s lifestyles and cultures. This may increase your appreciation for others. (However, because of the current pandemic, please stay safe at home.)

3. Get feedback from others.

Ask for feedback about your skills (such as listening) from friends, family members and colleagues. You can also check in with them from time to time to see how you’re doing.

4. Challenge yourself.

Venturing into new and challenging experiences will push you out of your comfort zone. Learning a new skill, for instance a new language or instrument, may humble you and humility is the fundamental enabler of empathy.

If you’re interested to see where your empathy level is, try out this quick​ quiz!

What are Human Rights?

So what exactly are ​Human Rights​?
It is the ​rights​ you have simply because you are ​human​.

 

What is Human Rights Day?

Human Rights Day is celebrated universally on the 10th of December every year to advocate the rights and freedoms of people across the globe. In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (UDHR) which contains 30 articles that touch on freedom, peace, justice, education, healthcare, and dignity, amongst other rights. Human Rights Day was officially established on the 4th of December, 1950 at the meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

The UDHR basically states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights”.

For the past 70 years, it has been celebrated worldwide to improve the social, cultural, physical, and spiritual well-being and welfare of all vulnerable groups of people.

 

What is the theme of Human Rights Day 2020?

“Recover Better – Stand Up For Human Rights.”

This year, the theme for Human Rights Day correlates with the COVID-19 pandemic that has left many countries struggling.

The UN Human Rights’ call to action “S​tand Up for Human Rights”, ​is intended for everybody to support transformative action and display practical and inspirational examples that will contribute to recovering better, and cultivating more resilient as well as just societies.

There is a dire need to build back better by making certain that ​Human Rights ​are the main priority of recovery efforts throughout the world.

 

What are the goals?

The COVID-19 crisis is further aggravated by structural discrimination and racism. The requirements for a post-COVID world would be equality and non-discrimination for all.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on the high and rising inequalities, be it economically, socially, and/or culturally everywhere in the world. A new social contract is needed to birth a new era.

Everyone plays a vital role in building a post-COVID world that’s recovered and better for the present and future generations. It is vital that the voices and pleads of the most vulnerable and affected be heard during the recovery efforts. We are all in this together.

Sustainable development is essential for all people and the planet. ​Human Rights​, the ​2030 Agenda, and the ​Paris Agreement are some of the many foundations of a recovery that includes everybody on this planet. Learn more about this by reading about ​The Sustainable Development Goals which addresses global challenges that we face today.

 

United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, ​Michelle Bachelet says​, “This is a call to action to seize this opportunity and build the world we want.”

Every person seeks equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal dignity without discrimination. Human rights are the choices that we make every day as human beings. It is the responsibility we all share to respect, to help one another, and protect that in-need.

Those who fight against torture, discrimination, poverty, and injustice are not people with superpowers or any special abilities; they’re normal people like you and me. Free-thinking individuals who refuse to be silent.

So, the question now becomes, ​will ​you stand up for human rights and join in the fight too?

 

If we were to ask someone to take responsibility for their life or actions, they would usually ignore it. Why? Because this statement may seem judgemental, aggressive and insensitive – it may not even make sense to the listener.

Personal responsibility is often an overlooked personality trait that many have yet to achieve. It isn’t something that one decides to do voluntarily, rather, it is something we discover once we acknowledge our own power and realize the impact of our actions.

One of the reasons why accountability is so important is that it shows you know how to take ownership and by doing so, you get to control your outcomes – whether positive or negative.

Here are some simple yet fool-proof methods on how to cultivate accountability and take control of your life!

  1. Write It Down

No matter how big or small the activity or chore is, writing down your responsibilities is proven to be effective. When you write things down, both parts of your brain are activated – the imaginative right hemisphere and the logic-based left hemisphere. As we now carry our smartphones around like an extended limb, you can even write it down on your Notes app or as a widget you can see every time you look at your phone. There are so many distractions around us that make it is easy for the brain to forget your responsibilities – give it a break and just ​write it down!

  1. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

When you set unrealistic expectations and commitments, it is more likely that you would fall short and fail. This would, in turn, cause you to feel demotivated, give up and feel bad about yourself. Keeping your promises straightforward and realistic is a safer method to ensure you reach your targets and move forward.

  1. Momentum Is Key

Building momentum i​s a vital factor in your personal accountability and responsibility journey. Try this: each time you complete a task, attempt a slightly bigger task afterward and move on from there. For example, starting with a small task like drinking a cup of water after you wake up every day to build up confidence. After completing the task, celebrate your ‘win’, and with each win, you’ll be more self-assured and more likely complete the next task. In time, add more habits you’d like to include such as a 5-minute yoga session before you shower, etc. Before you know it, you’ll have habits you thought were impossible at the start of your journey!

Every day is an opportunity to do things a little bit better than you did the day before. Accountability allows us to take ownership and improve our lives – we are then able to be comfortable and take responsibility without shifting the blame.

Although being accountable and taking responsibility might feel overwhelming, it’s interesting how quickly you will discover that ultimately, you are in control. And that is is truly empowering.

Similar to the Yin and Yang, of how two opposites complement each other to make a whole, there is a shadow-side to everything in life – especially in ourselves. Everyone exhibits some form of toxic behaviour. We are only human after all. But what’s important is that we educate ourselves rather than ignore it and continue acting the same away. If you’re ready to be honest and accountable, to be a better version of yourself, we invite you to read on!

What are the common toxic traits?

Some common toxic traits include:

  1. Being Judgemental

Having standards and not settling for less is one thing, but if you find yourself judging someone because of tiny, minuscule things that don’t define their character – start acknowledging that and actively stopping yourself. Otherwise, it usually implies a hidden or open desire to control or change someone.

 

  1. Negativity

When something bad happens to you – are you quick to blame everything around you, including yourself? It’s normal to experience bad days, but when your mind only answers and listens in a negative tone, you won’t be able to appreciate anything in your life.

 

  1. Gaslighting

In a nutshell, to ‘gaslight’ is to invalidate and/or downplay other’s emotions. Gaslighting often occurs when you listen to ​counter​ and ​not​ listen to understand.​ Some examples of gaslighting phrases include:

 

  1. Manipulation

Using mental tricks for your own personal gain is considered manipulation. Examples of manipulative ways are:

If any of these sound familiar, it could be time for you to step back and start taking responsibility for your behaviour.

How can I improve?

The first step is to acknowledge your toxic traits and areas of improvement. This could be done by nurturing self-awareness. You can do this by:

Recognise and admit to your negative traits.

 

Ask yourself, “What are the qualities I’m putting out there?”, “Why do I do something a certain way?”.

 

Viewing the situation from the other party’s perspective will help you understand them better and manage your emotions. In turn, this will change your actions and lead to a better outcome.

 

Review your actions and emotions through journaling or mediation, and reflect to see if you can improve the situation in the future.

When you notice your toxic traits and begin the process of realising how your trauma affects your behaviour, you can start amending and improving your personality. However, if you continue to recycle your pain, the cycles of the same situation will happen again.

Psychologist ​Dr. Tasha Eurich​ offers a piece of advice, “Working on your self-awareness will put you ahead of 80 percent of your colleagues. It is the secret ingredient. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it quickly – be open to what people tell you so that you can make a significant improvement.”

Start becoming aware of your own toxic traits, even if they’re ingrained in niceness. It’ll move you a step closer towards self-acceptance and self-love!

Do you beat yourself up when things don’t go according to plan? You may find yourself turning internally and judging yourself for not reaching your own expectations. If this sounds all too familiar, read on to see how you can start treating yourself with the kindness and compassion you deserve! 

According to counseling experts, Dr. Kim & Dr. Hill, by showing ourselves kindness, the brain starts creating new “mentalities” and habit patterns that will transform our thoughts from seeing black and red to seeing joy and opportunities instead. Try these out:

You would only talk to a child with understanding and love, right? What if we told you there’s an inner child inside all of us and by extending the same love and forgiveness to that child, it would help you greatly. Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk! 

 

Dedicate “me time” to yourself every day. It can be as short as 15 minutes, but in those 15 minutes, fill it with activities that bring you joy such as meditation, journaling, drawing, playing your favourite instrument, or just dancing and vibing to your favourite music. By doing this, you are proving to yourself that your needs are important too. 

 

Rephrasing your thoughts and removing judgment from your actions will help cultivate self-compassion. We’re all human, it’s normal to make mistakes. Here are a couple of examples you can try the next time this happens:

Negative Thought Pattern

 

New Thought Pattern

 

I feel like I didn’t do anything today. Why am I so lazy?

 

I’ve been feeling unmotivated recently. Let’s try to figure out why I’ve been feeling this way.

 

I made a mistake, why am I always messing up? I made a mistake. It’s okay. I’ll keep going and be better next time.

 

After doing something you’re proud of or achieving something, give yourself a moment to celebrate and praise yourself! It could be that you finally submitted an assignment or a proposal, finally went to the gym or even just making your bed in the morning. Compliment yourself and give yourself a high-ten! Thank yourself for completing the chore. Shifting your focus on the good won’t leave any room for the bad. 

 

Forming and maintaining good habits can be draining, so treating yourself is actually necessary. When we reward ourself, we are more likely to feel cared for, contented, and empowered. This boosts our self-command, which helps us continue our healthy habits. According to the author, Gretchen Rubin, who studies happiness and good habits, giving yourself treats is a Secret of Adulthood: If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish”.

And you don’t even have to spend much to feel like a million bucks – here’s how you can treat yourself without breaking the bank!

 

Apply these tools into your daily routine to develop your self-compassion muscle. Remember, we are all humans who are prone to make mistakes, but our mistakes don’t define who we are. You deserve all your kindness, love, and affection.