The month of February is called the month of Love

By Oana Lis

Whether we choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, or whether we celebrate Romanian love on February 24, Dragobete, the concept is the same… Love, the strongest invisible force.
And, before looking for love on the outside, the most important step is to know how to look for it inside, to know how to love ourselves first in a healthy way, so that we can have emotionally healthy relationships and relationships full of sense.
Loving yourself is not a selfish act, on the contrary, from that point you can offer a lot to others, when you really value yourself.
Self-esteem, which is closely related to self-love, is one of the fundamental dimensions of our being; it is a discrete, intangible, complex phenomenon, which we sometimes forget is integrated into our being.
The concept of self-esteem occupies a very important place in the West, especially in the USA, where the word “self-esteem” is part of the current language. The verb -to estimate- actually comes from the Latin -estimare-, -to evaluate-, whose meaning is double, at the same time, -to determine the value- and -to have an opinion about-.

Our opinion of ourselves is vital to our psychological balance. When it is positive, it allows us to act effectively, to feel good in our own skin, to face the difficulties of existence. But, when it is negative, it causes many sufferings and inconveniences, which disrupt our daily life.
To have self-confidence, to be sure of oneself, to be satisfied with oneself… there are a multitude of terms and expressions involved in the current language to be able to designate self-esteem. In fact, each of these refers to one of its multiple aspects.
Self-esteem is made up of three ingredients… self-love, self-concept and self-confidence.

Self-love is the most important element, to truly love ourselves, despite our flaws and limitations, despite our failures and defeats.
This self-love must not depend on our performance. Self-love depends, to a large extent, on the love that our family shared with us when we were children and on the -emotional food- that was shared generously or not… Self-love is coming…full on…practicing it…
When self-love is lacking, all areas of life suffer: couple and interpersonal relationships, professional life, health and physical appearance, etc. We cannot live a life where we are and feel fulfilled… if we do not have a positive relationship with ourselves…

The love we seek is nothing but our natural state… If we cleanse our body, mind and soul, we will come to realize it. To experience self-love we must remember the following aspects:
– When we came into this world, we were given a body. It is our duty and responsibility to take care of him;
– When we came into this world, we were given an intellect. It is our responsibility and duty to use and develop it;
– Beyond the rational and tangible aspects… we will find ourselves… find our Self… Our spiritual Self is what gives meaning to our life. Let’s learn to take care of him and do our best to be in contact with him as often as possible.
The essence of self-love is to listen to your intuition, to learn to listen to what your body tells you about the needs you have, and that starts with knowing yourself better. You really can’t change anything for the better in your life if you can’t love yourself more and truly.

“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everything you experience is your mirror” (Ken Keyes).
Working with the development of self-love comes with immense rewards, it creates a balanced emotional and mental environment, strong and full of love. This environment then supports us in everything we want to do: it supports us in taking care of our physical health, in confidence and self-expression, in the courage to take risks, in taking on new projects, in asking for what we need in our relationships, to be less and less dependent on validation and approval from others. We end up having a very strong, healthy and supportive relationship with ourselves.
At the beginning of our journey in life, the most important relationship we have is with our parents, after that we become more aware and begin to connect with ourselves and this becomes the central point of reference through which we experience every other relationship.
“Your task is not to look for love, but only to look and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built yourself to protect yourself from it” (Rumi).

The opinion we have about ourselves, this evaluation of our qualities and defects is the second pillar of self-esteem. It’s not just about self-knowledge, what’s important is not the reality of things, but the conviction we have to be owners of qualities and defects, of potentialities and limits. Positive self-concept is an inner strength that allows us to enjoy our chance despite adversity.

The third component of self-esteem, which is also often confused, is self-confidence. Being confident means believing that we are able to act in an appropriate manner in important situations. The role of self-confidence is paramount, as self-esteem needs facts.
– Every person has an equal, infinite and unchanging value, value with which they are born.
– The essence of the Self should not be confused with external factors. External factors may cover the essence or help it to shine, but the value of the self’s essence is constant (ie, infinite).
– People express their value through unique means and behaviors and each person, in his essence, is whole, having all the necessary qualities from the embryonic stage.
– Every person was created to love and be loved.
– Everyone needs confirmation (ie, love…) to feel like a valuable person. So, all people need a source to confirm that they are loved, accepted and valuable.

As the psychologist Abraham Maslow said (1968) – “The need for love characterizes every human being that is born… Psychological health is possible only if the essence of the self… is… accepted, loved and respected.”– So, the love is important. If you have not received it from others, it is good to give it to yourself.
– The nature of love can be: a feeling you experience (a person generally recognizes it when he meets it)… an attitude… because love always wants the best for the person you love (Note that love for others and self-love are not mutually exclusive… ideally, loving attitude includes both…)… it can be… a decision or commitment that you uphold every day and also it can be a skill that is cultivated.
– Unconditional love is learned.
– At least three sources support the experience of love: the parents, the self and the important people in everyone’s life. Theologians add a fourth essential source – divine love. Most theologians maintain that God’s love is unconditional, a gift of divine grace, always accessible and, at the same time, the surest basis for development. So, this spiritual foundation can be very useful.
– So the prudent course of action is to first be responsible for the source of love you can rely on: that source is YOU!!!
– Like value, love must be unconditional, unwavering in the face of temporary setbacks and independent of daily self-evaluations. In other words, a person can say to himself, if appropriate: “Even though I had a low performance today, I still love me!!!”
– Love also makes you feel like someone! It doesn’t define you, nor can it give you extra value. It just helps you to be aware of it, feel it and appreciate it.
– Love is the foundation of development. Love constitutes both the soil and the climate necessary for human development.
– “If you didn’t have loving parents, then you had better learn to be a loving parent yourself.”
– Life is not about pedestals and power. Life is about love. As Mother Teresa said, every person was created to love and to be loved. It is love that truly heals, not intellect, although cognition supports this process.
– Love is the foundation of stress reduction, because it is the foundation of mental health and self-esteem.
– Writing about your feelings is also a way to reveal yourself and love yourself…
– Everyone’s inner child possesses, from the embryonic stage, every necessary quality it needs, plus an innate tendency to evolve and perfect its raw parts. „You are still the child you once were.” (Leman and Carlson, 1989). Our goals are to heal, integrate, perfect and reunite the present consciousness with our native core. The cure, quite simply, is love. We may not call it love in the specialist language, but it is love. Love heals and provides the foundation for development. Although the adult acts at least apparently logically and rationally, cognitively, the inner child yearns for love and continues to suffer until his wish is fulfilled.
– The best thing you can do is to become very good at being you…
– We are all equally valuable as people. Value is not comparative or competitive. While one may be good at sports, academically or in business, another may have very good social skills and all are valuable as human beings.
– External factors neither add nor detract from value. External factors include things like money, physical appearance, performance, and accomplishments. They only increase the “market” value and the social image. However, the value of a person is infinite and immutable.

– Value is stable and never in danger (even if someone rejects you).
– Value does not have to be earned or proven. It already exists. You just have to recognize it, accept it and appreciate it.
– The human essence, also called the essential, spiritual self, is like a crystal, whose facets reflect the sunlight so beautifully…
– If anyone has ever contributed to the well-being of others or their own… in any way, little or much, then that person has done something wonderful and will feel fulfilled.
– “We consider these truths obvious, that all people are equal. That they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (U.S. Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).
– „ We are all, in fact, the same human beings, who seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. Everyone is my equal. Your feeling – I am worth nothing – is wrong. Totally wrong.” (Dalai Lama)
– “You’re as good as anybody else” (message to Martin Luther King from his father).
– “All men are the same when they sleep” (Aristotel).
– “People can be human, with human frailties and still be wonderful” (Stephen L. Richards, 1955).
– “If we let circumstances or other people determine value, it will give them undue control and power” (Anonymous).
– “I am greater, better than I imagined. I didn’t know that I carry such great kindness in my soul” (Walt Whitman).

– Being kind and caring to yourself mean dealing with pain with kindness, loving understanding, patience and deep care, rather than in a critical, harsh way. Self-compassion is closely related to unconditional love and empathy. The golden rule is to treat yourself as you would treat a good friend or loved one…

So what is Love to you!?

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