Bookof LoveI

“As we celebrated throughout theReturn to Love Conference, bell hookscontributed much of her thoughts andknowledge to the world.When we can see ourselves as we trulyare and accept ourselves, we build thenecessary foundation for self-love whether we learn how to love ourselvesand others will depend on the presenceof a loving environment. Self-lovecannot flourish in isolation.”As a feminist and professor, many of her books focus onrelationships and love. bell hooks taught us that “Knowing howto be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can bealone, we can be with others without using them as a meansof escape.” This book provides evidence-based practicesfor cultivating love of self and others through the Five LoveLanguages.1 To begin to explore the five love languages, takethis quiz to discover your primary love language, what it means,and how you can use it to better connect with your loved ones.bell hooksAll About Love: New Visions. Harper Perennial1 Gordon, S. (2022, January 23). What Are the Five Love Languages? Verywell.

LOVE LANGUAGE #1:Words of Affirmation: express affection throughspoken words, praise, and appreciationResearch shows that self-affirmation – focusing on important qualities that makeus who we are – has powerful effects that can minimize the anxiety, stress, anddefensiveness that are associated with threats to our sense of self while keeping usopen to the idea that there is room for improvement.2 Below are activities and practicesthat you can implement to express words of affirmation.“Care and affirmation, the oppositeof abuse and humiliation, are thefoundation of love. It is a testimony tothe failure of loving practice that abuseis happening in the first place.”bell hooks,All About Love: New Visions. Harper PerennialCircle 3 phrases that you will use thisweek to affirm who you are.1. I deserve to feel safe, comfortable,and confident in this body.10. I f my body requires healing, I willtake joy in doing it.2. I am worthy of accomplishment,success, and abundance.11. M y body is a tremendous gift, and Iwill treat it with love and kindness.3. I accept myself the way I am.12. M y body is my responsibility, and Iwill do what’s best for me.4. My mind is clear of self-doubt, and Iam ready to embrace everychallenge that comes my way.13. I trust that I have the capability toachieve my goals.5. E verywhere I go, I attract joy andhappiness.14. T he world is filled with endlessopportunities for me.6. I am at peace with my body.15. I embrace being a woman.7. I allow love to fill every inch of my skin,and I will embrace the warmth thislove gives to me.16. I recognize all the blessings in my life,and each of them fills me with joy.8. I have all the happiness, love, andpositive energy I need today tohave the most amazing day.9. I am grateful to be living in this divinefemale body.17. I choose the happiness of thismoment over the pain of the past.18. E very challenge I face is anopportunity to grow and improve.Legault, L. (2012, October 24). Self-Affirmation Enhances Performance, Makes Us Receptive to OurMistakes. Association for Psychological Science.2 23

LOVE LANGUAGE #2:Ways to practice words of affirmation for selfQuality Time: give your undivided attention Write a letter to your body. Focus on positive self-talk. Add an affirmation to your lock screens. Journal about your positive attributes. Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Follow social media accounts that uplift you.Individuals who engage in self-care take part in activities to “treat” themselves.3Self-care has been used to reduce burnout, fatigue, and stress.4 In addition, selfcare can be practiced with others.5 Self-care involves mindfulness, where individualsfocus their attention on an experience and approach life “with a sense of curiosity,acceptance and openness.”6 Self-care and care of others are expressions of qualitytime. Below are self-care activities you can participate in by yourself and with others.Plan 3 things you are going to do in Maywith yourself and with others.Ways to practice words of affirmation for others Use meaningful phrases.“I believe in you because .”“You always make the people around you feel loved by .”“I’ve never met anyone as as you.” Compliment someone. Write a love note. Tell someone you love them.3, 4, 564 Wyatt, J. P., & Ampadu, G. G. (2022). Reclaiming self-care: Self-care as a social justice tool forBlack wellness. Community Mental Health Journal, 58(2), 213-221. Ramasubramanian, S. (2017). Mindfulness, stress coping and everyday resilience among emergingyouth in a university setting: a mixed methods approach. International Journal of Adolescence andyouth, 22(3), 308-321.5

Practice quality timewith yourselfPractice quality timewith others Take yourself on a date. Practice active listening. Go for a drive. Try a new restaurant or recipe. Go for a walk. Go on a walk after dinner. Start a new hobby or project. Plan a picnic without phones. Watch a movie. Play board games or video Schedule alone time. For more ideasgames. For more ideasLOVE LANGUAGE #3:Acts of Service: do nice things; make someone’slife easier; actions speak louder than words.Those with Acts of Service as their love language feel loved and appreciatedwhen someone does nice things for them to make their life easier. This can alsobe a gesture like remembering an important date. Beyond the feeling, empiricalresearch demonstrates that altruism and volunteering have mental and physicalhealth benefits including increased longevity and happiness.7 Below are ideas forpracticing acts of service.Take 5 minutes and clean up your work area.“To begin by always thinking of love asan action rather than a feeling is oneway in which anyone using the wordin this manner automatically assumesaccountability and responsibility.”Practice acts ofservice for others Do a task you have been Prepare a meal.avoiding. Say no to something youdo not have time for. Volunteer for a cause you Do someone else’s chore. Surprise someone with theirfavorite activity, snack, trip. Run errands for someone.believe in. Make yourself a meal. Tidy up your living space.bell hooksAll About Love: New Visions. Harper PerennialGrimm, R. Jr., Spring, K., & Dietz, N. (2007). The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review ofRecent Research, Corporation for National and Community Service.7 Post, S.G. (2007). Altruism and Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, OxfordUniversity Press.7 76Practice acts ofservice for yourself Ben-Shahar, T. [Museum of Science, Boston]. (2006, October 4). Positive Psychology: The Scienceof Happiness. [Video]. YouTube.7

LOVE LANGUAGE #4:Gifts: a heartfelt gift makes them feel mostloved; it’s the thought that counts.“One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is togive ourselves the love we are often dreaming aboutreceiving from others. There was a time when Ifelt lousy about my over-forty body, saw myself astoo fat, too this, or too that. Yet I fantasized aboutfinding a lover who would give me the gift of beingloved as I am. It is silly, isn’t it, that I would dreamof someone else offering to me the acceptance andaffirmation I was withholding from myself. Thiswas a moment when the maxim “You can never loveanybody if you are unable to love yourself” madeclear sense. And I add, “Do not expect to receive thelove from someone else you do not give yourself.”8This love language is not about materialism. Small or big, tangible or intangible, thosewith this love language receive love when given something that is specifically forthem based on their values, desires, and quirks. They see you and adore the personyou are. The science behind gift giving encompasses many psychosocial constructsincluding identity, similarity, and rituals.8 Moreover, giving gifts sparks gratitude,the “social glue that fortifies relationships—between friends, family, and romanticpartners—and serves as the backbone of human society.”9 Below are activities andpractices to promote gift giving.Buy/Make/Save for something that youhave been wanting for a while.Something for yourselfSomething for others S tart a gratitude practice/journal. B ring them their favorite flowers,just because. Start a project that excites you. B uy them something they’vebeen wanting for awhile. P lan for a trip to somewhereyou have always wanted to visit.bell hooksAll about love: New visions. Harper Perennial O rder takeout from a newrestaurant. S end them a surprise carepackage at work. Make someone a playlist. B uy yourself a beautiful andfragrant bouquet of flowers. S ign them up for a class they’vebeen wanting to take. I nvest in yourself by starting anew hobby. Bake something for someone. S tart a gratitude practice with afamily member or friend.8Kotamarthi, P. The Behavioral Science Guide to Gift Giving. The Decision Lab.9Allan, S. (2018, May). The Science of Gratitude. Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.9

LOVE LANGUAGE #5:Physical touch: nothing speaks more deeplythan appropriate physical touch.“Dominator culture has tried to keepus all afraid, to make us choosesafety instead of risk, samenessinstead of diversity. Moving throughthat fear, finding out what connectsus, reveling in our differences; this isthe process that brings us closer, thatgives us a world of shared values, ofmeaningful community.”10Physical touch and affection promote an emotional connection and feelings ofwarmth and comfort. From fist-bump to full body hugs, physical touch does notjust signal safety and trust but actually elicits physical responses like lowering bloodpressure and stress while boosting the immune system and signaling the release ofoxytocin, “the love hormone.”10 In fact, studies show that all of these health benefitsand more can come from just a 30 second hug.11 Below are activities and practicesto increase physical touch.Take 2 minutes and stretch.Practice physicalaffection for selfPractice physicalaffection for others Join a Yoga class. Hug for at least 30 secondseach day. T ake a bubble bath or warmshower.bell hooksTeaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope Make time to cuddle. Create a skin care routine. Hold hands. G et a professional massage orvisit a spa. Learn to give a good massage. Get physical exercise. Take a dance class together. Sleep with a weighted blanket. Give yourself a scalp massage.10 Ditzen, B., Hoppmann, C., & Klumb, P. (2008, October). Positive couple interactions and dailycortisol: on the stress-protecting role of intimacy. Psychosomatic Medicine.11 Cirino, E. (2018, April 11). What Are the Benefits of Hugging? Healthline.11

How to Give Good HugsThe first step of giving a good hug is knowing when to hug. Hugs are notalways appropriate – but when someone really needs a hug, you can maketheir day by stepping in to embrace them. To give a good hug, you will need tocreate a warm and welcoming space for your hugging partner. Make them feelcomfortable, loved, and supported. Click this link for more information.1Know when to hug.There are times forhugging, and times forkeeping your hands toyourself. First, understandwhy you are hugging thisperson. No matter thecontext, a good hug shouldfeel natural. Wait for abreak in the conversation,or a transition, or apoignant moment.122 Be welcoming. Create asafe and gentle space. Useyour body language, yourfacial expression, and yourgeneral demeanor to invitethe person into your arms.Make this person feel likehe or she is the only personwho matters right now.3Open your arms tosignal that you want tohug. Your body languageshould funnel the personinto your embrace. Steptoward them to make theinvitation more clear. Lookyour hugging partner in theeyes, and watch their faceto make sure that they areopen to being hugged. Ifthe person steps forwardto meet your embrace,then they have acceptedthe hug. It’s time to enterhug mode.4Consider announcingyour hug. Say, “Can Ihug you?” or “I want to hugyou right now.” This canbe a great segue if you areuncomfortable initiatinga hug, or if you think thatthe other person mightbe uncomfortable with asudden hug. By makingyour intentions clear, youmay be able to clear theair and create a mutuallycomfortable space.5Be genuine. Don’t expectanything from the hug otherthan warmth and a sharedmoment. If you are huggingwith a warm heart and agenuine desire to makesomeone feel better, youwill likely come across asfriendly and welcoming.6Determine yourhugging style. This willdepend on your personalityand who you happen to behugging. Some people areable to fearlessly rock thebear hug. Others are subtlerand less committal in theirapproach. Watch variouspeople hug each other, anddecide which hug is best fora given situation.13

All About Love:New VisionsCrossword PuzzleAcross1. sympathetic pity and concern for thesufferings or misfortunes of others5. the state or quality of being dedicated to acause, activity6. the quality of being coherent and intelligible10. the hidden power believed to control what willhappen in the future; fate11. the sharing of a feeling, action, or relationshipbetween two or more parties13. recognition of a feeling or sense or belief thatthere is something greater than myself15. an intense feeling of deep affectionDown2. recognition of a feeling or sense or belief thatthere is something greater than myself3. author of aint i a woman4. righteousness, equitableness, moral rightness5. a feeling of fellowship with others, as aresult of sharing common attitudes, interests,and goals7. the process of making or becoming sound orhealthy again8. a feeling of excitement and mysteryassociated with love9. “[an] investment of mental or emotionalenergy in a person, object, or idea”12. simple elegance or refinement of movementBlank Puzzle1414. free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere15

Answer Key16Thoughts, Notes, and Reflections17


necessary foundation for self-love whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment. Self-love cannot flourish in isolation. bell hooks. All About Love: New Visions. Harper Perennial “ ” 1 . Gordon, S. (2022, January 23). Wha