February 14th, 2009

It seems that in February, love is on everybody’s lips. Valentines day is the day for lovers. The day for showing your significant other that you appreciate him or her. That’s all fine and good, but where’s the holiday that honors love of self? It seems that love (or at least lust) of another person is all around us. Media bombards us with romantic images. Magazine articles give us tips on how to be better lovers. Yet, when it comes to the most important love of all, self-love, the images and ideas that we are fed are those that tell us that we don’t measure up, in one way or another, to who we should be.

Love of self, or self-esteem, is the most important focus in one’s life. It is impossible to truly love another person or have a fulfilling life unless one first loves oneself. Despite this, messages coming from outside of ourselves and, most insidiously, from within, tell us that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. Enough for what? Some artificial standard? Sadly, the answer is most often, enough for ourselves.

Regardless of where these standards of measurement originated, whether from family or the media, we are always our own worst critics. We always hold ourselves to a higher standard than any one else does and almost always fall short. It is only the person that truly loves her/himself that allows room for error, room for forgiveness.

It is great to have goals, that’s how we grow, but we can keep our eye on the prize even as it remains just beyond our grasp. Too often, when we don’t achieve something we desire we take it as proof of our own failure and lack and go no further. Ironically, it’s that lack of self-love that keeps us from accomplishing our goals, not our “failings.”

Not living up to our own desired standards can be a big source of shame and guilt (and a huge drain on one’s self-esteem.) In my work as a home organizer a person’s shame over his or her surroundings is often the first thing that I confront. Being embarrassed is nothing more than a fear that someone is going to judge you, despite the fact that you have already judged yourself and found yourself lacking.

So how do we love ourselves amidst our perceived lack? The first step is self-forgiveness for all the ways you fall short of who you want to be. The second, and most important, is for you to realize that you are perfect as you are. That doesn’t mean that you should give up your goals or efforts to better yourself. It simply means that who and where you are is the result of doing the best you can with what you have at any given moment. You begin to love yourself the moment you stop measuring yourself against past “failures” or future goals and start to simply be present with yourself. Only then can you truly love another, making the best response to “I love you”, “I love me too.”

Visit or call Mark at 480-241-8119 for more information or to schedule your free consultation.

As printed in the AZ Networking News, Feb 2009

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