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February 2018: Love YOURSELF

One undeniable highlight of February is its celebration of Love. Sometimes, it can be all too easy for us humans to forget the importance of Love in its various forms. I remember trading cheap little Valentine's Day cards in my grade school classes every February 14th in the mid-'90s, and using the holiday as an excuse to overindulge my childhood self in boxes of chocolates. (While that last part may not have changed too much since the mid-'90s, I'm happy to announce that my taste in chocolates certainly has.)

I had fun for a few years with those products that came packaged in red synthetic ribbons and heart-shaped stickers, sold by the local Walmart in the name of marketing Love. However, I remained detached from the deeper meaning of Valentine's Day. I knew what the day was supposed to be about — but romance remained some distant, enigmatic phenomenon far from my reality for several years.

At my Catholic elementary and middle school, there was a definite separation between girls and boys. We were labeled as different from day one of kindergarten, with us girls wearing plaid maroon jumpers, and them boys wearing navy blue pants. Just to ensure that we didn't overcome any us and them mentality by actually bonding, we were also made to eat lunch at separate sides of the cafeteria. It is my belief that we all, as human beings, harbor varying degrees of masculine and feminine energies, which sometimes does and sometimes does not correspond with the gender assigned to us at birth. I had yet to realize that at the time, however, and so any playful intermingling of assumed masculine and feminine energies (represented in the form of us girls and them boys) was painted as some taboo indulgence, all the way through my all-girls Catholic high school years. Another type of Love I wasn't taught too much about in Religion class was self-Love. Instead, self-belittlement is what complemented the teachings of my inherent guilt as a human who is not Jesus Christ. I wasn't from a Catholic family, and so was not subject to those same teachings on the homefront . . . [In fact, I simply have to pause my story here, and emphasize that there's really no need to pull out a violin on my behalf. I want to express my Love and Gratitude for the wonderfully loving and supportive parents with whom I was blessed in this lifetime.] . . . however, the very fact that I was non-Catholic (and therefore an oddball), and yet sitting through the same religion teachings as my Catholic classmates, for me amplified that self-insecurity that most, if not all, of us experience in its ebbs and flows of varying degrees while growing up. (My own guilty human self was not worthy to receive forgiveness from the resident priest, or partake of a communion wafer like my classmates could . . . Why not? Was I the only one in my class not good enough for this entity known as "God"?)

So at school, self-Love was (perhaps inadvertently?) discouraged. Romantic Love was nonexistent. And the spiritual Love of "God" that was taught mandated that I acknowledge my utter unworthiness of receiving it. I consider myself fortunate to be in a place where I can now take a step back and look at what factors contributed to any lack of self-Love or self-confidence I experienced as a kid. However, Catholic schools aren't the only arenas where self-Love is lacking publicity. It's an understatement to say that many of us carry wounds that still remain unhealed from past life experiences. If you feel any lack of self-Love, I encourage you to ask yourself, Why?, and keep asking Why? upon Why? until you get to the bottom of it. A logical understanding of past influences can be conducive to breaking them down, and stripping them of any residual power they may hold over us. We adults often continue wearing masks left over from our childhoods, long since they've ceased to serve any benefit. Self-Love is a crucial ingredient of your self-healing. It takes your self-Love to acknowledge that you are worthy of investing in your own self-healing. This is partly because true healing is a process of soul-searching that enables us to unearth the root cause of our dis-ease, and is often a lengthy process that requires commitments of time, motivation, and willingness to face the Truth. To muster up the motivation to invest in pampering yourself with self-healing because you not only deserve good health itself, but because the quality of our health directly impacts all other areas of life (and is therefore much less a pampering than it is a necessity), can be a challenge. Is this the case for you? If so, I encourage you to ask yourself still more Why?s. Taking that first step of choosing to pursue self-healing is a major accomplishment, and once that ball is rolling, self-healing feeds self-Love, evolving into an ever-increasingly fruitful, symbiotic relationship of strengthening energy in the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual realms.

Love yourself. You deserve to be healthy. You're absolutely worth it.

#february #love #selflove #health #selfcare #valentines #catholicschooling #insecurity #spiritualhealth #emotionalhealth #mentalhealth #rootofdisease

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