It will soon be Valentine’s Day – the day of love – a day when we send greetings of love to those who are near and dear to our hearts.
For me, Valentine’s Day holds an additional significance because it is also my birthday. I’ve always felt blessed to have been born on Valentine’s Day and as I’ve grown older and look back on my life, I feel that it is no accident that my life’s work for over 25 years has revolved around teaching people the importance of loving themselves.
I first started my journey into self-love in 1992 and my whole world changed. I quit a corporate job that I hated; I opened an alternative healing center with a friend; I developed a workshop called “Lighten Up” to teach people the importance of loving themselves and how to achieve that state; I manifested the man of my dreams and together we began giving workshops throughout the country and started Open Heart Press publishing company. The ripple effect of loving myself has, for me, been the manifestation of a healthier, more peaceful, abundant and fulfilled life. The ripple effect is different for everyone who starts on the journey of self-love, but it is without a doubt one of the most important journeys anyone can make.
But why is it so difficult for some of us to love ourselves? I feel that the seed was probably planted in early childhood, not necessarily on purpose. Our parents may not have loved themselves and therefore did not have the capability or the wisdom to teach this concept to their children. If a child is raised by parents who don’t love themselves, then that child had no role model to emulate this ideal. Add to the mix the hundreds of messages we are bombarded with daily by the advertising media selling us on the idea that we’re not good enough just the way we are — that we need this product or that service to feel good about ourselves.
In addition to the above, I feel that our addiction to watching and listening to the news plays a significant role. When we allow ourselves to be bombarded by negative news it is truly difficult to feel good about ourselves and the world we live in. My prescription for curing this ailment is to go on a news fast for a couple of weeks to help accelerate the process of learning to love yourself. During those weeks, give up reading traditional newspapers, news websites, news email lists, listening to the news on the radio, and watching the news on TV. Instead, feed yourself during your news fast with sources that report positive news. There are many of these -- just Google "Positive News" to find some good sources.
The lyrics in this old Johnny Mercer song I remember from my early childhood cleverly delivers the message:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative, And latch on to the affirmative, Don’t mess with Mister In-Between. You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum, Bring gloom down to the minimum, Have faith or pandemonium’s, Liable to walk upon the scene.
I would venture to say that many of us feel that pandemonium reigns in many parts of the world right now. Could it be that the amount of unrest in the world is the result of a lack of love? A Course in Miracles tells us that there are only two emotions: Love and Fear. Fear is defined as anything that is NOT love – for instance, agitation, anxiety, dread, anger, rage, hatred, animosity, revenge, frustration, annoyance, exasperation, disempowerment, aggravation... and the list goes on. The Course also tells us that only love is REAL – that fear is an illusion, something that we have made up.
To me, then, the message is clear: If we choose love, we eliminate fear.
But why, you may ask, does the World need us to love ourselves? Wouldn’t it be just enough if we loved others?
First of all, it’s impossible to truly love others if you don’t love yourself. You can’t give from an empty well. If you are not filled with love of yourself, you cannot give love to others.
Secondly, when we begin to love ourselves, we then open the door to being able to tap into an inner peace that perhaps was unavailable to us before. In that loving place of inner peace our love radiates out to others around us.
Thirdly, loving ourselves helps create a peaceful world. Think of how different our world would be if everyone loved themselves and that love rippled out in all directions. Would we be fighting wars?
World peace is an inside job. It begins when enough of us reach a state of inner peace. To reach that place of inner peace, the first step is to love yourself.
The world needs you to love yourself! So, as you are sending your valentines this year, please remember to send a valentine for yourself first! It is your opportunity to begin the journey of helping to change the world by giving yourself the greatest love of all – unconditional love of yourself!