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  • Dr. Ethel Chiles Neal

Love Starts With You


How did we ever evolve into a place that we mistakenly concluded that there is something wrong to look in a mirror and say “I love you”? Similar to my life as a little girl, many of you wore pretty dresses at Easter, played in mom’s make up and even tried to walk in her high heel shoes. Maybe we saw ourselves as beautiful and the experience stopped there. If you looked back over the past week, how many times did you say to yourself – I love you. Somewhere in your life’s journey, you encountered vain instead of modest, arrogance instead of humility, self-centered instead of generous, and jealousy instead of supportiveness. Yes, our mother taught us never to brag about achievements but she did not teach us to hold our heads down to make sure we don’t upset anyone. Some may believe an inferior approach to life reflects humility. We have become so focused on not making others feel inferior to our desire to celebrate achievements and accomplishments, that we forgot that God tells us to love ourselves – say it and show it. Here’s the thing, no one gets to define how we love ourselves - that is still up to the individual as long as you are not lying to yourself in accepting behavior that you know does not reflect love.

My mother taught me, people will judge you regardless of your decisions – so live life on your own terms. Instead, we are so busy measuring our worthiness by that which we see in others, we have no time left to focus on us. Yes, there is a balance to self-conceited and self-love – we just have to make sure that we do not sacrifice one for the other. Love starts with you before anyone else can love you – remember that. Love should not resemble a trip to Golden Corral – the love you receive is like pot luck – you just accept whatever is there. If someone ask the question – how do you want to be loved? How would you answer it? If you have never experienced the love of God and loving yourself, you will just accept that which is given and suddenly realize one day, I do not feel loved. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person, it starts with you. Self-love and Self-care are blue prints of how that special person will learn to love you – how you may ask - because how you love yourself is how you will teach others to love you. Love starts with you.


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