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The Greatest Love of All. . . .

I vividly remember singing/squeaking Whiteny Houston's "Greatest Love of All" in the 7th grade talent show. My mullet was still growing out, but I was certain the pubescent student body of Faith Middle School in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas was about to have their minds blown. Let's be clear. Anyone could participate in the talent show which is how I created this opportunity for myself. The message seemed so clear and effortless in my twelve year old mind. "I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadows. If I fail? If I succeed? At least I lived as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity. . ."

Learning to love ourselves is an endurance event, not a sprint. Self love is different than any other type of love. The ancient Greeks said there were seven basic types of love: Eros, which is sexual or passionate love; Philia, or friendship; Storge, or familial love; Agape, which is universal love; Ludus, which is casual or noncommittal love; Pragma, which is based on duty; and Philautia, which is self love. If we could strategically build the strongest pyramid of love, clearly Philautia or "Love of Self" would be THE foundation. Self love is the root by which any other love can grow or be created. Oddly, we throw our focus into how we can be loved by others or how we can love them. We gladly give away the opportunity to love ourselves through the mirage of love to others.

Self love is honoring where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow. Are my decisions today honoring who I want to become tomorrow? The routines or actions I take to honor myself are self care. There is a difference between self love and self care. The routines or actions of daily meditation, lifting weights, dancing, early bed time, breath work, intuitive eating, and being in nature are how I care for myself. The encompassing awareness and prioritization of my choices is self love. We have to be able to prioritize what is most important to us. We cannot have an insane social life, take every vacation, excel in our work, get up every day at 4:00 am to exercise and volunteer all at the same time. We get to choose. Are your choices of self care supporting your ability to love yourself? Where can look deeper and ask more compassionate questions in our choices?

Whitney was wrong about Bobby, but she sang the truth about loving ourselves. I knew it and felt it while squeaking it out in the 7th grade auditorium. Then I grew up and lost it for a while. Here I am (no mullet), searching and growing every day to increase self love. Here is to February and the joy and journey to loving ourselves.

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Anyone can dance. Everyone can connect.
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