Words of affirmation are about appreciation, compliments and affirming how you feel about your loved one. The first love language is all about showing how you appreciate someone through words that build them up.
Words of Affirmation are Love Language #1
Everyone enjoys compliments, I can say this because I’ve never met a single person in my life that didn’t respond positively to a sincerely delivered compliment.
However, if your love language is words of affirmation, compliments and words that affirm or reinforce the feeling of heartfelt appreciation are your life blood.
You may be thinking that it’s really not that important, why put an emphasis on this type of communication, of course people like compliments, but that’s not earthshattering.
Do Not Trivialize Compliments Toward Those that Speak Affirmation
If you feel that way, then it’s likely that words of affirmation are NOT your love language, and that’s ok. But do not trivialize the fact that others that do have this as their primary love language put a profound importance on this aspect of communication.
Love languages are real, and understanding the primary love language of someone you love can result in a new level of feeling that you may not even be prepared for.
Once you start speaking in terms using strategies that people natively understand it opens up a whole new world of connection.
What are Words of Affirmation?
That’s an excellent question. Words of affirmation are words that build up a person, that make them feel good about themselves and how they view the world.
Words that validate a person’s thoughts, behaviors and actions that are used to build confidence are what is important.
You see your wife or girlfriend and she’s got a new dress on, or she’s done something different with her hair. Widen your eyes in shocked appreciation and state “Wow! You look great in that dress”, or “Your hair looks amazing!”. If you can follow it up with something like “That color makes eyes look amazing!”.
Don’t lay it on to thick, or it’ll come off contrived. The point is that it has to be sincere, and adding HOW you like something or WHY you like something helps to show that you are noticing details, and not “just saying it”.
But the words don’t have to be about how the person looks, it can be based around actions that they’ve taken.
“Thank you so much for calling the pharmacy for me and getting that prescription refilled so that I didn’t have to. I want you to know that it means so much to me that you love me enough to do that!”
Spur of the moment comments spoken without hesitation like, “You always make me laugh, I love that about you.”
I hope you get the gist. Bottom line, be nice, be proactively positive about how someone that speaks words of affirmation:
- And of course…loves
Words of Courage
Words of affirmation aren’t just about compliments though, they are words that inspire courage. Encouraging words require some caution, because I’ve noticed that many people can inadvertently polish them off with a “backhanded compliment”.
A backhanded compliment is something that reduces the positive impact of a phrase. They often start in the middle of a message with the word “but”.
Make sure any compliment and especially encouraging words do not contain a “but” in them. For example:
“I love how you fixed the sink, but why did it take you so long?”
“You look great in those leggings, but I don’t like the color.”
In order to encourage, you have to know something about what someone is doing. This means you have to take an interest, ask questions, get inside their head and find out why they enjoy doing what they are doing.
If they decide to start writing, immediately express how fun that sounds. Start asking them questions about it like, “Wow that’s awesome, I think you’d be great at that! You’ve always been able to tell a story like no one else I know. So, do you have any ideas on what your first project will be? Do you intend to pursue fiction or non-fiction?”
The point is to steer completely away from anything that could in any way dissuade them, and focus on the positives. If it’s something they want to do, then they should do it and they have your full support.
You can also reinforce behavior that you like to see in your loved one by encouraging them to keep doing it. If they do something, take notice. Thank them and explain why it’s so meaningful to you.
Words of Affirmation are Just About Any Words that are Positive in Nature
People that speak the language of affirmation are very influenced by positive language, kinds words have a great deal of meaning. Conversely, mean words repel them.
Your words don’t even have to be to them, or about them. If a person that speaks affirmation hears you talking to someone else using kind words, this means a lot to them as well.
Telling a passing woman that her baby is adorable, or expressing appreciation for a kind deed. A woman with a man that speaks words of affirmation noticing and appreciating the work that went into a yard, or a building speaks volumes.
Humility, or humble words also speak to these people. Proud arrogant speech is a turn off, whereas humble words tend to reach deeper and settle in their soul.
Some Specific Examples to Consider
Sometimes having some specific examples of how to “speak” the love language of words of affirmation are helpful.
Learn to Say “I Love You”
What I mean by this is that you should learn to say I love you in a few different languages. Women in America seem to really think French is romantic, for example.
Ideally, go onto YouTube and figure out exactly how to pronounce it effectively, say it with passion and feeling. Oh and don’t discount sign language. 🙂
Here’s a video of how to say “I love you” in 31 different languages…
Remind Yourself that Words Are Important – At Least for the Love in Your Life
You have to remember that for someone with the love language “words of affirmation”, that words are exceptionally important.
Write yourself a note and stick it to your mirror or some other spot where you’ll see it every day, hell if you have to, tattoo it to your forehead…just remember it!
Compliments Every Day!
Keep your relationship healthy, find at least one way to compliment that special someone in your life, every day!
Don’t take a day off, make it a regular thing. Make it sincere. Make it real! Channel your inner Nike and…just do it!
In fact, whenever you have the ability to do so sincerely, without sounding like a brown nosing nerd, compliment your lover in the presence of friend, family and especially parents to earn extra credit.
Leave Surprise Notes
Leave your partner a note in their sugar dish, or shaving kit or wherever they’re sure to eventually see it. These types of surprises work to make everyone feel appreciated and loved, but even more so for love language number 1, words of affirmation.
Leave a note drawn in soap on the bathroom mirror, ideally where they can see it but it won’t obstruct their view (otherwise it could lend itself to early morning annoyances).
I’ve even left notes written with marker on canned vegetables but turned inward so she wouldn’t see it until she actually picked it up.
Say Thank You
Get used to saying thank you. At first this could seem unnatural, get good at making it seem natural.
Say thank you for everything that they do for you, sometimes just thanking them for “being them” is enough, especially when it’s said right after they’ve done something adorable, or they’ve said something insightful.
Love Languages are Asexual
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a love language is more masculine or feminine. Don’t do this!
I’ve known as many men as I’ve known women who “speak” words of affirmation as their primary love language. Never make the mistake of thinking a love language is explicitly a girl’s or a guy’s language only.
A love language related to words of affirmation is the love language of “Acts of Service”. Service is about sacrifice and affirmation is about appreciation. Service doesn’t have to be appreciated, but it sure does help.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this explanation of the love language, words of affirmation.
The Other Love Languages:
For an even more in depth discussion about love languages, I encourage you to check out the book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts”.
What’s your love language? You can tell me about it in the comments below.
If your love language is words of affirmation, what would you like the special person in your life to say to you? Let me know in the comments.
If you have any questions or comments of any kind, use the comment form below to let me know, I’d love to hear from you!