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What is Love?

The topic of Love encompasses many areas of our intricate lives.  Love is more than loving another person; it includes loving ourselves, accepting faults, practicing gratitude and loving through difficult situations, among many other things. Did you celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day recently?  Like we do on that special holiday, it’s important to express gratitude for our mothers, fathers and parental figures in our lives, every day!  Even if you weren’t close to your mom or dad, chances are there was some adult whose opinion of you mattered. Why do we often wait to only once a year to tell someone how much they are appreciated or how much they’ve helped us?                 Try some spontaneous kindness and see how it makes the recipient feel, and pay attention to the wonderful feelings that you’ll also participate in.  Think of gratitude and kindness as like any other skill that you want to master in life – it just takes practice! While you’re spreading some thoughtfulness to others, don’t forget about you!  We can be our own worse critics, but there’s a lot we do really well.  Determine each day to get to know yourself a little better and get to know what’s true for you – and have fun doing it! Remember my question from the beginning of Seven Steps to Inner Power?     Asking this and seeking the answer is absolutely essential if you wish to express your fullest potential in life.  Loving yourself is an important part of the answer.
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Love truly has the power to transform and heal, but why does it seem so elusive?

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Love truly has the power to transform and heal, but why does it seem so elusive?

It’s a simple truth that before you can express love, you must know love – and before you can love someone else, you must first learn to love yourself. For a feeling so easy to experience, it takes work, too!  Love in all forms, whether for oneself or another person, takes energy, and effort!

How many of us struggle with a harsh inner critic, an endless flow of judgment and discouragement? So often it is so much simpler to say to ourselves, “I can’t do this” instead of “I’m going to try, and try again!” And yet, It is this “inner critic” that must be tamed before we can truly love ourselves, or anyone else.

So how do we stop this inner critic? How can we truly purify our thinking to remove this negative energy?

It starts with gratitude, with every day and in every action. After all, love goes hand in hand with gratitude. Giving thanks and appreciation is a practice, however. It must be conscious, in every thing we do. Remember, when we express gratitude, we are acknowledging that something good exists.  This acknowledgment energizes that good thing and gives it momentum to continue existing, while shrinking the “inner critic” inside ourselves!

We should think of gratitude as we would any other skill that we want to master in life.  Even a simple “thank you” to the person ringing up your groceries is a powerful form of gratitude, and could possibly make a big difference in that person’s day.  Do you thank your body for your good health every morning? Your legs that walk, your eyes that see? Do you remember to give appreciation for having transportation, or food on your plate for every meal? It may seem silly, but studies show that people who consciously practice gratitude reshape their neurological pathways, in turn experiencing more joy, and positivity throughout their days! In other words, giving thanks makes you feel more thankful!

Gratitude also helps us remember to not forget to acknowledge the people around us.  Let’s not fall into thinking “of course they know that I love them, I don’t have to say it all the time.”  The people in our lives need to hear it directly from us. 

Try it today – get to know who you are and learn to love yourself!  Practice gratitude with those you encounter.  See how these actions lift up your energy and the energy of the people you interact with.  And watch how giving thanks helps us not only be kinder to others, but to ourselves as well.

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