My best friend has been going through a hard time after a challenging break up. You know, one of those splits that leaves you reeling, unsure of footing or direction or… anything? I’ve been there. I highly suspect you have too.

Last night, I got a text from her. It was simple, but so exactly perfect. She wrote: “I realize that I am the love of my life.”

“I am the love of my life.”

That’s big.

Can you love someone else, truly, when you do not love yourself? Collecting the emotions or affections of others to fill you up when you are yourself empty does not work. Without love within to serve as your sponge, your magnet, the other-love dissipates quickly. Vanishes. And leaves you, again, empty.

Can you heal yourself, truly, when you do not love yourself? Without the self actualization and empowerment that comes from belief in and love of yourself, you have nothing to draw upon as strength. Your fortitude is low, you run on fumes. Without your own regenerating light power within, your love, you will not thrive.

Can you free yourself, truly, when you do not love yourself? Not one of us is immune to karma, the binding lessons of soul life. And not one of us can ultimately find the karmic balance of love without love within to guide us, remind us, show us the way. We are all deity. Loving yourself motivates you to be the best version of yourself. Being the best you allows you to love others wholly, without judgement or expectation. Love is the source and the goal.

Can you be yourself, truly, when you do not love yourself? Who are you when not your best you? A shadow? A shell? You are not the flat grey form on the sidewalk in the summertime light. You are not only skin deep. Who you truly are is only as bold and brave and  beautiful as your powerful spirit within. And it is through deep and unconditional self love that you may honestly actualize that you.

It is sometimes hard to love yourself. It takes honesty. It takes responsibility. It takes ownership of feelings and words and actions. And it takes acceptance. No, you’re not always perfect. And you know what? That’s not only ok, it’s awesome. Because you’re you, and you’re beautiful, and you’re learning, and you’re loving. And while you may have a long way to go (we all do) you are totally on your way.

“I am the love of my life.”

Say it. Remind yourself. Like my friend, claim it and be proud. Because in truly being the love of your life, you will be the best you you have ever imagined. You will be more loving, more caring, more giving, more forgiving, more approachable, more open, more true, more honest, more responsible, more understanding, more free, more empowered. You will be more alive. And isn’t that what this life, really, is all about?  We’re here to live, right? Why not go all in?

What do you have to do to fall madly in love with yourself? Try spending more time with yourself for starters. Treat yourself with respect and listen, really listen to what you have to say. Try being a little less hard on yourself when you mess up. Own your mistakes, for sure, but learn from them and move on. Know that you’ll do better next time because you’re paying attention. Congratulate yourself when you succeed. Be kind to yourself when you’re hurting. Eliminate negative self talk. Be honest with yourself — not critical, just honest. Stop making excuses. Try less and do more. Just be there. You are your own best friend. Act like it.

And when you do find that you are loving yourself more, roll with it. There’s no need for limits. Self love is not selfish. You’re not loving yourself at the expense of others. In fact, you will find that you can love others more and better when you have filled yourself up. You will find an ever-flowing, abundant source right within you.

But first of all, believe. Give it a shot. If you have to, fake it until you make it. But do it. Look in the mirror or right into your heart. Take a deep breath in. And when you say it, say it like you mean it:

“I am the love of my life.”

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