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Learning What it Means to Love Yourself

| February 14, 2012

I started to write this blog about “loving yourself” in honor of Valentine’s Day. Then I realized that I really have no clue about why we should all love and honor ourselves. I’ve been thinking on this one, and here are my thoughts:

Honestly, how often do we think about how we feel about ourselves? Most of us spend much more time loving other people, loving ideas or activities, or simply confusing love with compulsion, addiction, or lust.

Many of us grew up in homes that did not exactly foster loving atmosphere and mutual respect.  Sometimes it seems like our families taught us more about how NOT to be loving than about how to make love and relationships work.

Life will not hand you easy solutions. Life will never offer you a clear path. It is up to you, today, to learn how to care for yourself and to build the family and friendships you desire.

Sometimes we have to struggle to learn how to care for ourselves. For most of us, it is a lifelong process. Allow yourself to embrace the process. What would happen if you let yourself make mistakes? What would happen if you forgave yourself?

Valentine’s Day is a difficult day for some people; love can be difficult for some people. It can bring back memories, or stir up emotions that are not normally present. It’s important to remember that Valentine’s Day is really, after all, just another day. However, every day is a new opportunity to learn how to love and respect yourself.

What does it mean to love yourself?

Love Yoursef - Heart

When you love yourself, you build a relationship with yourself. You learn to be comfortable spending time on your own, you learn to take care of your mind and your body. You learn to nurture your inner child, and gradually, you learn to better accept rejection and loss because you know that ultimately, you will be okay.

When you love yourself, you build a relationship with your higher power. You gain strength from your spiritual source– no matter what faith you choose to believe. When you love yourself, you forgive yourself and you forgive others.

Loving yourself means telling yourself that it is okay to let go. Loving yourself means caring for yourself during loss, it means holding on for one more day when the days seem darkest.  Loving yourself means letting go of the outcome.

Loving yourself means understanding that your dreams may be delayed, but they are rarely completely denied. When you love yourself, you encourage yourself to keep fighting, to keep trying and to keep moving.

A person who loves herself or himself is secure. When you care for yourself, you are able to tell yourself that, one way or another, things will eventually even out. Things will be okay.

You may never be rich, you may not have the perfect job or the perfect family. Your life may be up-in-the-air, and you may be surrounded by change. But you will get through this. You will survive this moment, this day, this year.

This Valentine’s Day, consider giving yourself the best gift of all. Forgive yourself. Get to know yourself. Take some time to listen to your inner voice. Allow yourself to feel loved.

Only then—only when you care about your own wellness and well-being—can you open your heart to the people around you. Love allows you to forgive others, and it allows you to move forward in your life. Love allows you to heal and it will allow you to build real relationships from today onward.

Happy Valentine’s day, everyone! Remember to take care of yourselves!

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