All You Need is Love: Loving Thyself

I took a blogging break in January to really focus on my blog outline for 2016, the topics, issues, and challenges I wanted to give encouragement on. Naturally for February, I wanted to really hone in on the notion of Love. Through marriage, through relationships, and most importantly loving ourselves. Hence - my February series: All you need is love!

Today's post is targeted specifically about loving yourself. I'm sure you've heard it before - but how can you love someone else, when you don't love yourself? What does that even mean, though?

Loving others can be easy for some of us. We tend to see the best, believe in the best, and offer our best to others we really love and care for. However - how often do we treat ourselves completely different? I enjoy working with women (and some men too!) who struggle with identifying their own self worth, and who look for their value in others. I'm sure we are all guilty of this at one time or another.

The challenge in wanting other's to validate us is that we begin relying on other's to provide something that is our own responsibility. We begin looking for partners, friends, spouses, even addictions to show us and demonstrate a love and self regard that only we can truly have. Something that in relying on people to do, we can be disappointed in.

But what does this look like? How do we know we are on the right path in loving ourselves?

When we love ourselves - when we appreciate who we are, revel in our strengths, accept our weaknesses, have confidence in our skin...we tend to make better choices. We look for partners who enhance our lives, we choose careers that build on our strengths, we appreciate and take care of our bodies - eating right and exercising so we feel good. We create healthy balance in our lives and make time to care for our emotions, so we can care for others. We create healthy boundaries with toxic or negative people in our lives, protecting our heart from damaging words or behaviors.

What does it look like when we are neglecting ourselves?

We don't appreciate ourselves, we focus on our weaknesses and remind ourselves of our failures. We are insecure, perfectionists who are unwilling to try because we are paralyzed with anxiety. We make poor choices. We look for partners who will be our EVERYTHING, to affirm us and remind us we are valuable. We choose careers that drain us, or don't utilize our true passions and natural skills. We don't eat, sleep, care for ourselves - because we are too busy with [enter your excuse here]. We keep toxic people in our lives because we are afraid that 1) we won't find anyone else 2) we think we/they can/will change. We pour our all into them and are left with a dry empty cup with nothing left to give to ourselves or anyone else.

Do you treat or tell others to love themselves like the right path? Do you find neglecting yourself despite what you preach to others? What does your self love look like? Examine your heart today and see where you stand on loving yourself versus neglecting yourself. Decide to make some changes - through yourself, through counseling or through spiritual insight. Decide TODAY, to love yourself and follow through.

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