Love Thyself First

There are a lot of roses and chocolates that will be flying across the fruited plain tomorrow. The greeting card/flower/Godiva cartel will record another successful annual extraction of dollars from the wallets of America’s men and women, flummoxed and frustrated at this forced, contrived show of affection, knowing full well they opt out of this day at their peril.

I know, I know- you say,” Let Hallmark have its way with us, stop being so earnest”.

A cynic I am not; I can simply think of nothing carrying less suspense than one’s expected bounty on February 14.

Okay. I’m in. I’ll go along.  A Pope actually created Valentine’s Day to honor a saint, so there’s no way I will be labeled a heretic!

There is a person in my world totally and absolutely deserving of love, and I’m inclined to give it to her, simply and sweetly, asking for nothing in return. Not because it is Valentine’s Day, but because it’s Tuesday.

Your relationship has been tested in the past year, especially if  any of the following molehills turned into mountains; money, career and the doubt you have held within yourself.

A man has some special problems with the burdens society has placed on us. Women are surging in college attendance, their earning power is rising, and the concept of women- as- breadwinner is a thoroughly modern role in 2012. But something nags in the back of the head of the man who is struggling, and it hurts us, and the people in our lives most precisely positioned to be our scaffolding and support system. We hold onto this notion of hunter-gatherer, and we feel as if we have failed our partners if we aren’t stepping up as much as we’d like. That’s too bad.

If you ain’t failing, you ain’t trying, it is said. I agree.

If anyone is deserving of love tomorrow, and the rest of your life, it is you.

It’s really easy to be hard on yourself. That self-talk we engage in can be the most damaging conversation we can have with anyone.

If you are living an authentic life, doing the best you can, not lying to yourself or others, you’re most of the way there. You are surrounded every day by phonies and gladhanders and jezebels and leeches.

That is life. But you don’t have to be one of them.

You have some incredible skills, skills you might not even know you have. The evidence is before you, right under your nose- but you look away, not because you don’t want to see these skills. You just don’t know how to find them.

When you’re ready, ask me. I can help you find the light.

Love yourself, warts and all. Confidence, friend. There’s nothing with the occasional bad day or a blue mood, but know and believe in your heart that you have value, and you bring something to the table. That dream job is not far away. Believe you can, and stop being so reticent in asking those who love you to give you a little scaffolding.

My colleague Michelle Kennedy, a journalist and lecturer at Academy of Art University in San Francisco wrote this gem the other day;  While you thank everyone else for his or her specialness, pay close attention to your own. Pat yourself on the back for the good you do, and challenge yourself to do even more good this year.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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