Love is a special and complicated emotion, probably because we use the word “love” in so many ways: I LOVE my boyfriend; I love my mother; I love Rocky Road ice cream. And last month I really loved my personal car mechanic! The Greeks had four different words for love:
Eros: is the passionate and intense love that arouses romantic feelings; the kind that makes you say, “I love him/her.” It is simply an emotional and sensual love.
Storge: is family love. The love that parents naturally feel for their children and vice versa; the love that members of a family have for each other.
Phileo: is affectionate, warm and tender platonic love. This is the love between friends who are there for each other when the friend is in trouble.
Agape: is the highest form of love, an unconditional love that sees beyond the outer surface and accepts the recipient for whom he/she is, regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults. It’s the type of love that everyone strives to have for their fellow human beings. Although you may not like someone, you decide to love them just as a human being. This kind of love is all about sacrifice, as well as giving and expecting nothing in return.
All this talk of love, but maybe we are missing a key type of love. Self-love. In the Bible, Scripture says, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” – but how much do we really love ourselves? Have you committed some self-talk that you would never say to your best friend? Do you ever say to yourself, “Oh, that was stupid of me!” Watch your self-talk! Watch what you say to yourself!
If we don’t love ourselves, then really how can we love others? Remember, even on airline flights they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you can then help others. I always had a hard time understanding that!
Here are some tips to help you develop a healthy self-love:
Have self-respect. Self-respect means acting and believing that you are worthy. Because you are. If right now you don’t feel you deserve to be treated with love and respect, start acting like it any way. Do not allow people to talk down to you, degrade you, disrespect your time, energy, body, life, home. Respect yourself and respect others.
Healthy Boundaries. Boundaries are key for healthy relationships and a healthy life. Don’t exhaust yourself always trying to please other people. Say “no” when you need to. Say “yes” when you mean it. Honor your truth.
Vision. Vision helps bring more passion and focus into your life. What’s your vision? Set a daily goal to work towards bringing that vision to life. Vision allows us to stay on track. Pour some energy on your vision. It gives us purpose and self-worth.
Take care of your health. You only have one body – be nice to it and it will be nice to you! Drink water, eat clean and healthy and move your body! Dance alone in your living room! You are the only one who can take care of your body, so don’t abuse it!
Set simple morning and evening rituals. In the morning, meditate, listen to some favorite music, write an intention list for the day. In evening, light some incense or candles, take a relaxing bath and say a prayer for others and the world.
With these tips, you will become a healthier and happier self. With a stronger sense of self, you have deeper self-love, and with deeper self-love, you make more conscious decisions that will create a more peaceful life for yourself and for others.
Oh, but wait a minute. Every February comes along a holiday known as Valentine’s Day. Some love it. Some don’t. For those who may not have a “Valentine” it may bug us when we receive Facebook posts or calls from our friends gushing about what flowers or gifts they received from their sweetie. But don’t let this bother you.
A relationship does not define you. It can complement you, but it does not define who you are
3 tips for getting through the Valentine holiday:
- Consider Valentine’s Day as just a day on the calendar.
- Recognize that not all relationships are the same. Just because you don’t have a date today doesn’t mean that you will be loveless forever. Great love is out there, but it might not appear until you let go of your past.
- If you don’t have a date – make a date with yourself! Do something you love! Indulge in a favorite pastime or better yet, do some volunteer work, visit the lonely in a nursing home or help out at an animal shelter.
Remember, you have to love and respect yourself, before others can really love you in a healthy way.
Choose love, and don’t forget to love yourself first.