Love Is…

By Resna Marie Brunson, MSC

It is very difficult to escape symbols of love this time of year.  Florists, chocolatiers, restaurants, and jewelers are hopeful their revenue will increase as Valentine’s Day approaches.  From elementary school children trading valentine treats to proposals and “I do’s,” this is a day set aside for open expression of love. It can also be a day full of regrets. As we watch television, shop in malls, and grocery stores, we cannot ignore the hearts, flowers, and balloons.   Sadly, some spend this time reflecting on past love and have lost all hope of loving or being loved again. We often think about how love is expressed to us from another but rarely do we think on how we can express love to ourselves. How we love ourselves can determine how we interrupt love from others.  Loving ourselves does not necessarily mean we need to buy ourselves flowers and candy on Valentine’s Day or take ourselves out on a date. Self worth and value should not simply be for an isolated day. The Bible has a beautiful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13.  Here are some ways to apply this love to ourselves.

Love is Patient:  Learn to be patient with yourself.. We can be our own worst enemy.  Most of us can be tolerant and extend mercy to others but will not afford the same grace to ourselves.  Although we know perfection is nonexistent, we somehow still think we need to “always get it right.”  We push ourselves to do things faster and better to only become disappointed if we fail: only to start all over pushing ourselves again.  We seem to stay on the hamster wheel of life not knowing or allowing ourselves permission to jump off.

Love is Kind: Learn to be kind to yourself. How do we express kindness to ourselves?  Do we forgive ourselves for mistakes? Do we recognize when we need to take better care of ourselves? Are we intentional about rewarding ourselves?

Love does not Envy: Learn to “bloom where you are planted.” It is easy to think “the grass is greener on the other side” when we look around and see people with better jobs, homes, relationships and resources.  I like to think if we are watering our grass it may look as green or greener than that on the other side.  Focusing more on how we care for our “grass” may lessen envious thoughts.

Love keeps no record of wrong.  Learn to let things go. It is difficult to move forward when we are thinking about our mistakes of yesterday. Instead of seeing each day as a chance to experience new possibilities we see it as a continuation of old problems. Proverbs 10:12 says…”love covers all offenses.”’  Once we accept our imperfections and lower self expectations we give ourselves permission to cover our  wrongdoings.

We are taught to be forgiving of others, to seek others’ will before ourselves, and to love unconditionally.  What is the reason we can not apply these principles to ourselves?  

Finance professionals use the phrase “pay yourself first.” It is considered very effective in maintaining personal savings while also meeting monthly expenses.  I would like to coin the phrase “love yourself first.”  Store love for yourself while you are loving others.  This may be a difficult concept to grasp.  After giving love to others, I simply have nothing left for myself.  It is hard to be patient and kind with myself.  I find myself envious of others and my grass seems to always remain brown.  I seem not to be able to escape the problems from yesterday.  Having someone with whom to process this may be helpful. Ready to take the next step?

Resna Marie Brunson, MSC

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