Let’s talk for a moment about love.
We’re encouraged in February to focus our love outward, to love interests outside of ourselves. Flowers, candy, cards – we give tokens to others that “show” our love. That can be a beautiful thing. We all enjoy receiving love from someone else. But where does our outward-focused love originate? I believe it must come from inside, from the attentive cultivation of love and acceptance of ourselves.
I’ve struggled with this. It can be very hard to love ourselves. Who else knows so well our shortcomings, failings, deceptions, weaknesses and flaws? We can be very self-critical and judgmental, which makes looking in the mirror with love difficult.
Genuine self-love and acceptance requires effort, but it is important work. Self-love is the origin of authentic caring, compassion and empathy; it is the source of no-strings-attached, unconditional love.
So as you express love to others this month, take time to practice self-love.
Here are a few ways:
- Honor your body. Your body is your vessel for this life, and whatever condition it is in, you can improve it. Find ways to make improvements through diet, exercise and rest (the many caring advertisers in this magazine can help).
- Connect with your inner self. Your spirit is alive, and it speaks to you. Be still, listen, pray, meditate, connect. Spirit is your source of inner and outer love. n Focus love on your inner critic. That harsh, critical inner voice is like an angry, frightened child. The words you hear from that voice are not true. Recognize this inner child, and respond with love and compassion.
- Forgive, and give thanks. Whatever missteps you made, whatever hurts you inflicted, whatever misdirected paths you traveled, you have arrived at the present. Accept your past, and forgive yourself. Be present now, and be grateful to yourself for delivering you fully to this moment.
May this February issue touch and enrich your mind and your heart.
Joel Shuler, Publisher