In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’m switching gears this week to talk about one of my favorite subjects–love.

love love, big red hearts, signing XO after my name, and if there’s a movie starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks you’ll find me sitting cozy in the front row, opening night!

Commonly referred to these days as, “a greeting card holiday” or, “SAD” (Single Awareness Day) the story behind Valentine’s Day is cloudy, but earnest.

The most popular legend dates back to the third century in Rome when the Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with wives and children and outlawed marriage.

Valentine, a priest and lover of love, disagreed with the Emperor’s decision and continued to marry young lovers in secret.

When word got out about what Valentine was up to he was sentenced to death.

Another legend says Valentine, while imprisoned, fell in love with a girl and before he was killed sent a love letter to her signed, Your Valentine.

This is thought to be the original “Valentine’s card” and how sending a “Valentine” came about, as well as the cutesy phrase, “Will you be my Valentine?”

Though legends vary, all regard Valentine as a hero and someone who took a stand for love.

Ah, love… There’s so much to love about it, isn’t there?

The only thing I’ve never been a fan of is when loving another, or being part of a relationship, consumes and defines us completely.

Some people mistakenly think this is what love is. To lose ourselves fully.

For others, it happens by accident like food poisoning they never saw coming.

I too, have unexpectedly and unintentionally allowed loving another to become greater and more important than loving myself.

But, we don’t have to lose ourselves completely in order to love someone completely.

In fact, like Samantha said to a beau in an episode of Sex & the City, “I love you, but I love me more,” we must love ourselves more than we do our partners.

And have our own life!

Each of us is a work in progress and it’s not necessary to love every single thing about our physical appearance, personality or skills, in order to have self-love. It lives at our core.

We can though strengthen it with these three practices:

  1.     Have kind inner dialogues.

Be mindful of what you say and don’t berate, punish or talk smack about your self.

Replace that inner mean girl with a supportive voice that affirms, “I love and approve of myself.”

  1.      Focus on the positives.

Say what, you’re not perfect?! Welcome to being human!

Instead of dwelling on what you perceive to be flaws, focus on your positives. Keep what you do love about you in the forefront of your mind.

  1.     Take gradual steps to change what you’re not crazy about or doesn’t serve you.

Each day, we can choose to right our wrongs, release what no longer serves us and at the very least try to be better versions of ourselves.

Even setting the intention to change sets things in motion.

Building a life with someone who is your best friend, partner and lover all rolled into one is beautiful and everyone deserves it.

But, no matter how amazing the relationship and how much we love spending every minute with our partner, when it comes to love every one of us must have our own life and love for our self.

The world needs love right now, maybe more than ever. And all love begins with self-love.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Emily Florence





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