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It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and I hope you have something romantic planned with your sweetie. Today, I’m reminded of the phrase, ‘You can’t really love someone until you love yourself.’

Easier said than done!

Why is it so difficult to love yourself? Speaking for myself, I’m my own toughest critic. I often think of everything I haven’t accomplished rather than taking pride in all of the great things I have accomplished thus far in my life.

I could blame this on my mother, though I won’t. She always felt you had to be accomplishing something. If you weren’t, it was implied you hadn’t earned your keep.

That’s a hard way to live. It’s as if you constantly have something to prove to others, that your value is implicit in what you do, not who you are.

Valentine's Day

As I’ve gotten older and hopefully wiser, I’ve finally learned that it’s up to you to be your own greatest fan. I try hard to show myself the respect I would hope others would afford me. That means having good personal boundaries and being choosy about whom I associate with. I try to do really nice things for myself. When you stop expecting others to make you happy, that’s when you can bring the focus back to yourself and discover what makes YOU happy and what brings meaning to YOUR life.

These are some of the simple ways I make myself happy:

Enjoying a cup of hot tea

Reading a book in peace and quiet

Eating chocolate

A walk in the woods

Talking with friends

Exploring an unknown city

Giving to others without the expectation of something in return

Listening to my favorite music

New experiences

Dining alone so that I can savor my food

Writing in my journal

Meditation

Going to the movies by myself

I’ve learned that I love my own company! I’m a fun person to be with! Something wonderful happened when I stopped focusing on other people to ‘give’ me a life – I went out and got my own life.

And so this weekend, I’ll be buying myself flowers, a box of chocolate, a nice dinner, and some time to realize that it’s up to me to give myself a life full of self-discovery, adventure and love.