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  • Can you love others if you don’t love yourself?
  • What is self-love?

This is Valentine’s Day, a day to show how much you love someone. There are three types of love. They are as follows: 1) Eros love is based on feelings and is me-oriented; 2) Agape love is Christ-centered and others-oriented and 3) Philia love is based on shared interests and is we-oriented. Today I am focusing on Philia’s love, which addresses the care and concern we show for ourselves and those with whom we associate and work with. It starts with self-love.

I believe that it is hard to give and receive love if we don’t love ourselves. Those who have never experienced unconditional brotherly/sisterly love don’t know what it feels like. My yoga teacher used to say, you can’t give what you do not have. Those who have never experienced Philia’s love are likely to be insecure and distrust others or constantly question motives. As a result, it is difficult for them to give and accept love.

I hate to admit that there were occasions when I did not love myself as much as I should have. I made mistakes or underperformed on a task and beat myself up. For some, the lack of self-love is based on how they were raised or the result of being bullied by peers. These are some of the behaviors that help us recognize a self-love deficit caused by insecurity. Unhealthy competition, excessive praise seeking, putting others down, or withdrawing. Barring a fixed mindset, we can learn to love ourselves more. As the songwriter said, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

It starts with positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is so important.  Start your day with positive affirmations. Do your best to ignore the voice that tells you all the bad things about yourself and focus on the positive and encouraging ones. When talking to or about yourself, be positive. Journaling also helps. Write down a list of your favorable traits and accomplishments. Note the things you did well each day and the things you will do better tomorrow.

You don’t want to turn into a narcissist, but being kind to oneself is practice for how you can speak to and treat others. Master the art of loving yourself and develop an attitude of gratitude. Get a gratitude jarEvery day you write on a piece of paper what you are grateful for and then put the pieces of paper in a jar. On a day when you need that extra push, you can go and read all the notes in the jar. And when you do, you will be in a better position to love and appreciate yourself and others.

What will you do to make your workplace better? To learn more about my coaching practice, visit: