Learning to Love Ourselves

learning to love ourselvesNot Again! That thought flared in my mind when I saw yet another female character on TV forsaking all else to chase the male hero even though she knows he doesn’t love her. She was another beautiful and sensitive young woman who had turned jealous, mean and dangerous as she resolved to do anything it took to win back the man she loved. How pathetic.

But does this story exist only on TV? Maybe not. Some years ago I lost a good friend – she turned into someone I did not recognize: a selfish and nasty person who wouldn’t do anything for anyone. It reminded me of what my dad once told me: “Don’t love anyone more than you love yourself.”

Don’t get me wrong. My dad didn’t mean that I should be selfish – he meant that if you loved yourself then you would not do anything that would devalue yourself.

“If you learn to love yourself,” he used to say, “you won’t devalue yourself in order to achieve wealth, fame or power. You won’t lose your dignity or feel the need to heat or cheat other people.”

If the tragic character in the soap opera had loved herself more than the emotion of falling for a man, she wouldn’t have become a villain. She would have survived and ultimately succeeded because she would have maintained her self-esteem.

Loving yourself is a protection against misery. When I hear of a suicide I always think of the family of the deceased. How after all those years of raising him or her, they had lost out to a broken heart.

I wish I could go back in time and find that victim and show them that they could sacrifice themselves in other ways – at an orphanage or in a nursing home where they could rediscover what love means.

I do believe in the power of love. I have a friend who used to go out late very night – since he had a baby he goes to bed early and devotes his life to his child. I have another friend who was very lazy and selfcentered – now she has so much energy as she devotes all her time to working as a kindergarten teacher.

But sometimes we need to know – or to be reminded – that we are loved. When we fall in love we usually try to make our partner feel that we are worthy of a reciprocal feeling. But when we fall out of love, we often try to hurt each other with contempt. Always remember that here are other people you can share your love with.

Valentine’s Day is on February 14. Many people will be thinking of love and what it means to them. But rather than dreaming of the perfect partner, I think we should instead remember to love ourselves. Take the love in your heart and – instead of throwing it away on someone who might not want it – save al little for yourself.

Maybe the love you hold inside your heart will inspire you, encourage you, prople you forward. It will certainly make you happier.

And when your heart grows with love, it means that you will always have some to spare for those who need it. That’s the miracle of love.

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