Friday, February 13, 2015

Love Yourself First

With talk of roses, chocolates, and love filling the air, this time of year has gotten me thinking about a different kind of love—the love for one’s self. All too often I hear of people scrutinizing themselves, myself included. We are our harshest critics after all. However, when was the last time that you gave yourself a compliment and focused on the positive parts of your life? You see, it’s all too easy to pass lackadaisically through our daily routine with a negative attitude. It’s the easier approach to take. Yet, a 2013 Harris Poll indicates that only 1 in 3 Americans consider themselves “very happy.” So why is it that the other 67% of Americans are unhappy? While there are a number of reasons that could be attributed to this unhappiness, I’m convinced that our unrest with ourselves is a large contributor. This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to offer three ways in which you can better love yourself starting today.

1.)    Focus on the Positive
Recently, I picked up the book The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon. In the book, Gordon enlightens readers on ways in which you can practice positive thinking to live a more fulfilling and successful life. A quote that resonated with me was:
“Every morning you have a choice. Are you going to be a positive thinker or a negative thinker? Positive thinking will energize you.”
Not only is it beneficial to think positively about your work life, but also about your personal attributes. Each morning, you can choose to look at yourself in the mirror and pick yourself apart. But what good will that do you? Instead, focusing on our positive qualities will help fuel us in moving forward towards the best version of ourselves.

2.)    Take Care of Yourself
Sometimes when we become busy with the rush of our daily life, we forget to take care of ourselves. Sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet are often put on the back burner. When you begin to build a healthier relationship with the foods you eat and your overall health, the more you will want to take better care of yourself in all areas of your life. Keeping your health in check is one of the best ways you can possibly love yourself.
Bela and I like to exercise together when I'm back in South Dakota :)

3.)    Do something to make others happy
As you read this next tip, you might be exclaiming “but hey, I thought this was about ME loving MYSELF.” That’s true, but if there’s one thing that I have learned in my life experiences is that sometimes the greatest happiness we will ever experience is a result of brightening other people’s days. In my undergraduate study, I traveled on a Spring Break mission trip each year. By that point in the semester, I was usually exhausted and ready for the time off. If I’m being perfectly honest, sometimes the thought of spending my break waking up early to serve others each day sounded like the last thing I wanted to do. However, it never failed that the time I spent serving with others was not only a humbling experience, but also a rejuvenating one.
Playing with my little pal, Sara, while I was in Tijuana for
Spring Break 2012

Taking the time to bring a smile to other people’s faces often boosts our own happiness and feelings of self-worth. It can be as simple of a gesture as paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Just try it.
I paid for a stranger's coffee the other day--
I felt so fulfilled after!

Valentine’s Day can be a sensitive time of the year. Either you are overflowing with excitement for your plans with your significant other or you are questioning why you are never good enough to have a special someone to spend that mid-February day with. Whichever way you are viewing Valentine’s Day this year, I challenge you to take time to love on yourself. I promise you this, it will be the best affair you can possibly partake in. 

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