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Want Love? Love Yourself, First

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The Greatest Love Of All, the original version by George Benson, but popularized by Whitney Houston is one of my favorite songs. As a young girl my parents often played this song along with the Commodores and Earth Wind and Fire on Sunday mornings after church. In fact it was one of the first songs that I learned all of the words to when I began to sing. Growing up it became my personal mantra and when I auditioned for a part in a popular play at the local university, it was a logical choice. As a young teen, who was coming into her own I quickly realized that it was important: love yourself. If I didn’t love myself, how could I expect to want love from anyone else?

“I found the Greatest Love of all inside of me”
-Whitney Houston

As a child the lessons we learn about love often come from our parents. We rely on them to teach us about love and internalize those lessons so that we will grow into healthy adults. But often we don’t learn the lesson fully at home and go in search of love in other places. Growing up in a home where there was domestic violence and mental illness, I see how my perceptions of love were skewed as a young teen. Even though I replayed the song in my mind, it wasn’t until many years later that I really believed it.

When we grow into adulthood we begin to repeat unhealthy patterns of love and relationships, because we don’t know what love is. People turn to drugs, sex or other at-risk behaviors with people who they think are showing them love, but in reality they are teaching self-destructive behaviors that will only serve to destroy whatever love is growing inside them; they want love.

It may not be until a person hits rock bottom that they realize that they need to first love themselves before they can truly love anyone else.

Perhaps this is you:

You stay in a relationship that’s one- sided.

You’re in a long term relationship with no commitment.

You’re in a friends with benefits situation and want more.

You’re in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship and too scared to leave.

Each of these scenarios should immediately sound an alarm within that perhaps you need to check your love tank.

No one will ever love you more than you love yourself.
-Venessa Marie Perry

Consider these things:

You Attract What You Are
When you love yourself, it comes back to you. The old saying that whatever you put out there will come back to you threefold is true.

Shine Bright Like A Diamond
Show love for yourself by taking good care of your body, mind and spirit. Loving yourself will be like a light for others to see. You will have an effervescence, a glow that will make others want to be a part of you. We are attracted to the light we see in others.

The World Changes
When you love yourself, the way you view things change. Everything becomes even more beautiful and lovely than before.  The rose colored glasses are removed and you now see the infinite possibilities of life.

Decision Making Improves
When we love ourselves we make decisions and choices from a healthy place. We don’t act out of fear, scarcity or desperation. Our decisions reflect our positive outlook on the circumstances presented to us.

Experience New Things
Wanting love for yourself allows you to experience new things. Love provides you with the strength and courage to feel good about new experiences. You pursue your dreams with reckless abandon, because regardless of the outcome you still love yourself unconditionally.

Loving yourself more, isn’t selfish. It is required so that you can let love win and build a stronger, healthier relationship with anyone else.

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