This month we traditionally focus on love.

For some it is a time of relational joy, optimism and hope, while for others it is a time of frustration, pessimism and pain. This dichotomy is one that has existed for years.

There exists within all of us a desire to be loved and feel needed. Many people settle for dysfunction just to fill a void. What this exposes is a variety of intrapersonal and interpersonal issues that we carry around. Chief among them are low self-esteem and codependency.

When our primary source of affirmation comes from others, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Rather than learn the powerful lessons of self-affirmation, many place that heavy burden on others.

As a consequence, we devalue our own significance. The Bible says in Mark 12:3, “love your neighbor as yourself.” How you love yourself becomes the model by which you love others. Self-discovery is powerful. When you understand the extraordinary gifts you possess, you then realize your value.

As you navigate through this month of “love,” perhaps you should consider the following:

1. Learn the true meaning of loving yourself. No one can adequately love you unless you first love you. When you love yourself, you have come to grips with your flaws and failures and put them in perspective so that you can move forward. If people genuinely love you, they can handle your story. Rather than judge you, they affirm it as a part of your growth.

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