Every year in February, it is hard to miss the reminders that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.  Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, you are surrounded by the colors of pink and red, the flowers, the candy, and the cards every time you enter the grocery store or mall.  On February 14th, you may be expressing love to a number of people – your spouse or significant other, your children, your family members – and I encourage you to add another person to that list: you.

The concept of love can be seemingly elusive and is often focused externally – on our family members, a significant other, a pet, a hobby, a spouse, an object, etc.  To illustrate my point, take a look at the following definition of love from www.dictionary.com:

Love [luhv], noun, verb, loved, loving.
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. ( initial capital letter  ) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one’s neighbor.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
13. Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing.
14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
This definition of love leaves little room for giving love to ourselves.  A few of the definitions can be stretched to apply to one’s self but not one of the 14 definitions above speaks directly to loving ourselves.  Only as I scroll down and see the definitions under verb do I start to see space for loving oneself within the definition of love:
Verb (used with object)
15. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
16. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
17. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
19. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
20. to have sexual intercourse with.
How would your life be different if you had love and affection for yourself?  What would it be like if you had a strong liking for and took great pleasure in you?  Consider adding you to the list this Valentine’s Day and giving love to yourself, in addition to the other people in your life.
Are you experiencing feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth?  I offer a free initial consultation and would be happy to meet with you and discuss how I can support you in therapy.  To schedule an appointment, contact me at catherine@embracestrengthcounseling or visit my website for more information about my services.

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