Loving Yourself this Valentine’s Day

If you’ve ever been on a plane, you’ve seen the flight attendants demonstrate that, in an emergency, a passenger should always put their oxygen mask on first before offering help to another person. This makes sense, of course. You can’t help other people if you’ve passed out from a lack of oxygen. 

When it comes to everyday life, however, we often forget how important it is to take care of oneself first before attempting to assist others. Women, especially, struggle with this. We help our children, we help our parents, we help our partner, and we often end up tired, cranky, and possibly ill because we’ve burnt the candle at both ends and down the middle. 

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it is probably a good idea to think about self-love for a moment. We often talk and hear about self-care, but self-love is different; it is the well from which self-care springs. If we think about self-care as action, self-love is the emotion behind the action. Self-love is the force. Get some concrete tips on steps you can take here.

What does it mean to love oneself?

Self-love means to acknowledge the value intrinsic in you. You have value not because of anything you do for others or give to others. You have value because you are a human on this earth. 

Self-love means accepting your weaknesses and frailties along with your talents and strengths. Acceptance, though, doesn’t mean you don’t do anything to modify your weaknesses especially if they make your life challenging. If a person has a natural talent for singing, they train and practice; they strive to improve their strength. If a person has a weakness (and we all do), they work to make that weakness become less of a challenge in their lives. If your weakness is anger, you work to manage it. If your weakness is negative self-talk, you work to lessen its negative effects. 

Self-love means asking for help. Despite the pervasive notion that we can and should pull ourselves up by our bootstraps without an assist, the idea is absurd. In the animal kingdom, humans are completely dependent on their families for a very, very long time. Unlike horses or zebras that can stand and run shortly after birth, or monkeys that can cling to branches or their parents after a couple weeks, humans require years and years of care before they are capable of surviving on their own. Acknowledging that you need help and seeking it out is far from a show of anything you lack; rather it is a profound show of strength. 

This Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love. Get to know who you are. Show yourself more empathy and kindness. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Be proud of who you are. Ask for what you need and do not accept less. You’re worth it.

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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