And I’m getting better at it. How about you?
Given that February is the month for lovers, I thought it high time to put the focus in this month’s article on the greatest love of all: loving yourself. Whether you are in a relationship or not, self-love is the foundation of your health, wealth and happiness. In fact, more truthfully: self-love is the foundation of your survival. Just ask Whitney Houston, who sang the song, but struggled to make it happen in her cut-short life.
So just what do I mean by loving oneself? Of course, you’ll probably agree self-love is not wearing the latest outfits or driving the sexiest car. But it may be part of self-love. If you have your finances in balance and you are buying a better car or perhaps your first car – to improve the quality of your life, then that’s self-love. Improving the quality of your life would mean things like being able to get to a job that pays you better and not having to rely on others and public transportation – which are both time-consuming and often demeaning. However, if you are buying a car that leads you to get behind on payments because the car is beyond your budget, that’s not self-love.
Let me give you another example: For close to 15 years I focused almost solely on serving lesbians in my business. I loved it and it was a calling. I’d chosen to be a pioneer, one of the first in my work. But eventually, I had to let that sole focus go – at least for now – about a year ago, because my life – my health and my finances – were out of balance. Self-employment is stressful. I’ll bet most if not all find they can’t do it for most of their working lives. One of the reasons self-employment is so tough in today’s marketplace is that health insurance costs have skyrocketed, for example. And, unless I have money left over at the end of the year I can’t build any retirement savings. I was in this line of work for all of the years of the recent great recession. Many years I had to dig into my savings rather than add to them!
So, this past year, I made several adjustments that seem to indicate to me that I am loving myself more. Yes, there is still work to do, but at least I am now on a healthier, more balanced track. Some ask: are you sad you are no longer running your business as you did? I have to say I haven’t been as sad about it as I thought I’d be. There is some relief actually, or maybe I’ve just been so busy I haven’t had much time to think about all of my feelings.
Love – I heard it said years ago, when training to be a couple’s therapist – is a verb! Love is so much more than feelings. Yes, attraction and feelings are important. But here’s the reality: Attraction and feelings wax and wane, but the substance of follow through and commitment through action is what creates results. For example, you may feel like you are healthy right now, but are you? What’s your current BMI? Do you even know what BMI stands for? True self love is lowering your high cholesterol or eating more fruits and veggies and cutting back the red meat.
So this Valentines, I hope for you that you take action on that day to love yourself more. Before you drink or eat the sweets, take that brisk walk, or get that massage. Even better, maybe drink some sparkling grape juice instead of alcohol. If you are single and you tend to get down this time of year, plan to address that before February 14th. If you are part of a couple in distress or distant from each other, if you have any positive feelings left about your relationship, get on it right away, before it’s too late.
I’m here to support you on your quest for a healthy, wealthy, happy life. Don’t give up, or give in. Give to yourself what you most need (not want) this February and watch your happiness and health grow.
Barb Elgin has been helping lesbians thrive since the mid-1980s as a psychotherapist, life/love coach, matchmaker, author, radio-show host and more. Her current focus is the Lasting Lesbian Love Social / Travel Club. If you’re ready to unwind, unplug, and become healthier and happier, while having fun and meeting other like-hearted LBT women, sign up for L3’s complimentary Social/Travel E-Zine at Lastinglesbianlove.com/lesbian-social-and-travel-with-heart.