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"I love myself so much, that I can love you so much, that you can love you so much, that you can start loving me!" - Rickie Byars, Blessed Always Agape Chant Anthology

I love singing along with this song. Not only is it uplifting, it also shares a simple formula for bringing more love into the world. Self-love leads to other love, which leads to love awakening in others, which leads to their expressing love. 

Whether we refer to it as self-love or self-care, the concept of being kind to ourselves so that we can be wholly present for our lives and for each other, is a popular topic these days. Our relationships with ourselves correlate with our mental, emotional, and physical well-being, as well as our relationships with others, and ultimately the well-being of humanity. Like the song says, "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me". So, rather than self-love or self-care being selfish or a luxury, it's vital and necessary.

Have you brushed off encouragement from a friend, colleague or medical professional to practice self-love or self-care? Did you agree with them just to get them off your back, and then keep doing the same old thing? I used to get so much satisfaction from doing physical jobs like a super-hero that I didn't want to let injuries slow me down. Similarly, I did other work heroically and ended up experiencing burn-out. Ultimately, both experiences taught me to love myself, take care of myself, and find a balance between exertion and renewal. After all, the rest of life is designed that way. Discovering that I am, too, made all the difference.

What have your experiences taught you about mental, emotional and physical self-love and self-care? Are you still doing the things that helped you to feel whole again? Are you being kind to yourself if your ways of finding well-being don't look as perfect as those of fitness gurus and celebrity doctors? If you've seen my personal Facebook page, you know I love to hang out and write at independent coffee houses, ride my bike,  cook,  and sing. Each of these things, and many more, I do in my own way for the joy that they bring me. I had to start by loving myself enough to make them important, then choose them, plan for them, and advocate for them. Because I did, I'm a healthier, happier person, better able to be wholly present for myself, others, and life.

What's one thing you could start doing today to begin or return to loving yourself more?  Not only is it okay and possible,  it's the best gift you could give to yourself and everyone else, too. Do something loving and caring for you today,  and watch as its resulting joy creates positive effects in your own life and in the lives of those around you.