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It begins with you

As you go about with your plans for the holidays, there is a gift that you can give yourself because it begins with you and spreads to others. It is the gift of self-love. Self-love is not a selfish kind of love, the kind associated with narcissism, but is self-respect, confidant that no matter what happens to you and around you, you are worthy.

Humans, many of us, are very skilled at beating ourselves up for failures and mistakes we have made, forgetting that even the most successful people have made mistakes, have failed to meet goals somewhere along the line but they still achieved. Everyonemakes mistakes, but when we learnfrom our mistakes they are life lessons that become a part of our life skills.

Self-love. “It isn’t simply a state of feeling good,” writes Deborah Khoshaba, Ph.D, in “A Seven Step Prescription for Self Love.” It is “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.”

It’s about how we mature and accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths. We need to be mindful of our authentic selves. When we make a mistake we should take the lesson, forgive ourselves and move on. We don’t have to explain our flaws and shortcomings. We just need to accept who we are, learn our lessons and continue to strive to do the best we know how to do.

“Life is easy,” said nobody I have ever known. We learn from our role models, our mentors. Sometimes those people are not so good at guiding us, or perhaps it is that we have to find our own way.

Mindfulness is being aware of what you think, feel and want, not what someone else wants for you. This is finding your authentic self – who you are and what you want. The real deal.

What do you needto remain strong, centered, and to move forward with your life? Although material things are nice to have, they are just things and you may be inclined to ask if those things belong to you or do you belong to those things. Does owning “stuff” make or keep you strong, keep you centered on what is important to you? Do those things help you to proceed on your journey?

What are you basic needs? How do you provide for them for yourself? These are things like eating right, getting enough rest and exercise, social interaction and intimacy, advises Dr. Khoshaba.

Some of us have never thought about setting limits – boundaries. We don’t consider the ways by which we might become depleted because we are so concerned about the people in our lives that we disregard our own needs. Good grief, people will think we are so selfish! Setting boundaries draws the line in the sand that says, “Do not cross.” And enforcing our boundaries puts others’ responsibilities back on them where they can learn, grow and mature. We shouldn’t hold others back from achieving their greatest potentials by doing everything for them, making excuses for them.

When you think about the people with whom you associate, are they good people who share your joy and delight in your successes, your happiness? Or do they work to drag you down to their brand of misery?

Have you reached that ah-ha! moment of thinking about how easily you forgive others their transgressions, and suddenly the thought occurs to you, “If I can forgive so easily, don’t I deserve to be forgiven, too?” Yes, just as anyone else does. If you forgive yourself, you can move forward and pursue the goals and dreams you may have set on the back burner.

When you figure out your purpose, you learn to live your life with intent. You know your goals, you know what you need to do and you do it.

Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., writes in “8 Powerful Steps to Self-Love,” that you don’t judge yourself harshly and you don’t punish yourself for every mistake you make. “Treat yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you’d show a good friend.”

When you love yourself properly, you set healthy examples for others, encouraging them to do the same. You make healthier choices. Your friendships and relationships are healthier and happier when you begin with the gift of self-love.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by OhioMHAS (Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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