This is an article I wrote a few years ago, but I would like to re-post it, tomorrow being Valentine’s Day.
By: Barbara Desmarais
Valentine’s Day is one day out of the year when we make a point of acknowledging those people we love. There are many different ways of expressing love. Using the words “I love you” is one way but the words often have little meaning if our actions are not aligned with our words. You may have heard the words yourself but the person saying them doesn’t display love in their actions. There are others who have neither heard the words “I love you” nor had people in their lives express genuine love towards them. They have never truly felt loved by anyone.
What does it mean to truly love someone? It means accepting them for who they are, supporting their interests, forgiving them for their wrongs, acknowledging their accomplishments, being there for them in good times and bad, accepting their faults and appreciating their strengths. It also means loving them when they may not be loveable.
When it comes to love, the most important person to love is yourself. If you can’t love yourself, it’s very hard to show love towards others. Loving yourself is defined in much the same way as loving someone else. That is accepting yourself for who you are, acknowledging your strengths, forgiving yourself for your mistakes, doing things that nurture your soul and celebrating your successes.
When it comes to loving yourself, how are you doing? Are you consistently putting the needs of others ahead of your own? Do you feel guilty for taking time out with friends or doing something just for the fun of it? Do you acknowledge the eventual result of putting yourself last? When it comes to self-love, what do you want to role model to your children? We know that children learn what they live. They can’t learn to love themselves if it hasn’t been role modeled.
Those of us who are parents were likely raised to believe that once we have children, they come first. Yes, children need to know they’re a priority in our lives. A child who is completely dependent on us, has to come first. But what happens if we always put our children’s needs ahead of our own? They often get a watered down version of who we really are.
Part of loving our children or loving anyone, is giving them our best. They deserve to have a parent or a partner who is happy, patient, tolerant, fun-loving, resourceful and emotionally and physically healthy. We can only become the best of who we are if we show love and respect towards ourselves. I’ve had so many parents (mostly mothers) tell me when they take a day for themselves to be with friends or do something they love they reunite with their family feeling renewed and refreshed. Things that may have irritated them the day before became insignificant. Parents who don’t carry around resentment, are usually more fun to be around. They’re better able to appreciate their children’s strengths as well as their partners’.
This Valentine’s Day express love to your children’s mother or to your partner’s partner. Give her something she loves or write a poem to her. Write a loving affirmation for all the wonderful things she’s done this year for other people. Buy her a bouquet of her favorite flowers or a bottle of her favorite wine. Go to a bakery and pick out her favorite chocolate desert. She deserves it! I’m talking about YOU.