Love You Tender

love yourself

We are trained from toddlerhood to love others. To love our parents and siblings, our family and friends, our teachers and peers. We know early on that we should love our bubbly neighbors and our ornery aunts, our bratty brothers and our best girlfriends. Our allies and enemies alike somehow deserve a dose of our precious love. And it can be challenging – because people are complex and cumbersome and unpredictable – but we muddle through because we are taught to love in this way. And, generally, we learn that loving other people feels good, and is rewarding, and the cycle perpetuates.

But I want you to love yourself. I want you to be loving WITH yourself. When you think about yourself, I want you to feel warm-gushy rushes of affection and adoration and pride.

But why? What’s the point of that? Why direct any loving energy inward when directing it outward feels more natural and yields more tangible results?

Because you should treat yourself just as tenderly as you would treat anyone else you love. You may default to humility or denial, feel uncomfortable basking in the glow of your accomplishments or lauding your hard-earned skills. You may beat yourself up for not trying hard enough, or achieving more, or being better. But think about badmouthing the traits you love in others, think about scoffing at the obstacles they’ve overcome. Then think about railing at a loved one for disappointing you, or falling short. You would never. So why allow it internally? You deserve for yourself what you readily give to others.

Because neglecting to acknowledge your own strength and beauty and power and intelligence and talent may eventually begin to drain those attributes. Your identity is your garden to tend. Nurture yourself with love, and keep your inner self nourished and strong.

Because self-love and self-care are interconnected. When we care for ourselves – put effort into our comportment, tend to our physical health and mental well-being, acknowledge our bodies for their natural beauty – we feel more confident, and more capable of loving ourselves. And when we love ourselves, we happily and energetically steward our bodies and minds. Love yourself that you may care for yourself, that you may continue to love yourself, and perpetuate that wonderfully ongoing cycle.

And finally, because, as the saying goes, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection.”

And that is the simple core of it: You DESERVE your own love. How you learn to love yourself is a highly individual journey, of course. But just in case you needed a reminder of why it is important, why you should bother, why you should love yourself tenderly and fully, flaws and all, here it is: You absolutely, unconditionally, unerringly deserve it.

Reason enough.

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  • Laura.

    what a great post for a monday morning. thanks for the wonderful pep talk!

  • Legal Editor Mom

    Yes. This is so true! Thanks for the reminder…

  • Diana

    I always know that I can get a little boost from reading your blog 🙂 Thanks for reminding us of how important it is to love ourselves.

  • Cupcakes and Cashmere

    this was definitely one of your most powerful stories. i've passed it on to quite a few women in my life already 🙂

  • tanya

    so true! What a beautiful thought to carry with you for the day (and for the rest of your life)!!!

  • Melissa de la Fuente

    This is beautiful and affirming and made my day! Thank you wonderful Sal for caring so very much!
    You are truly beautiful darlin!
    xo
    Melis

  • ~Hurricane B~

    This is perfect for Monday morning. It really is something everyone needs to try to do, since most never take the time to channel all that towards the in.=)

  • The Seeker

    Oh my dear I wish I could interiorized (?) this.
    Love that Buddha's quote.

    Thank you for calling atention for all.

    Have a nice week

    xoxo

  • WendyB

    Can't I just be on good terms with myself? Like a friendly acquaintance, perhaps? 😛

  • Nadine

    You're so right – thank you for those entry.

  • AsianCajuns

    Thanks for the awesome reminder, Sal! This is exactly wanted I needed to hear on a Monday afternoon… so easy to forget or push it aside.

  • pretty face

    You write so lovingly, which can only be testament to the love spilling out of you xx

  • The Raisin Girl

    This is a really great post. And it's true, we ARE taught to love others from day one. I probably couldn't talk the first time I heard someone say "Love thy neighbor," but I was quite a bit older before I ever heard "You have to love yourself first." People teach that second, and I wonder why that is.

  • Sher

    Thanks for the Monday morning pick me up!

  • lisa

    Thank you for this, seriously. I was starting to feel a little down on myself this morning (Monday blues, ugh) and I really needed the pick-me-up this post provided. =)

  • isleen

    When I saw how pink the girl was in the photo, I thought this was going to be a post on sensitive skin.

    I'm with Wendy — can't I just sort of like myself? Like an ornery friend you have to keep at arms length? The whole loving thing seems like a lot of WORK.

    Although I've noticed I love myself more with well-fitting underpants. Go figure.

  • Sal

    WendyB and Isleen: Oh, you two!

  • La Belette Rouge

    Self love and selfishness are so blurred for most of us. I know I fear any act of self love comes off like hubris and so I am much more comfortable with self-deprecation.

  • elena-lu

    yes i love love myself its taken a little time but yes i love my wonderful self to bits 😉
    and only once i did
    did i find how to love others
    so its been a beautiful process for me
    not over though
    just evolved
    and hopefully wont go back
    only forward
    and find more and more courage to love and be loved

  • Winnie

    Yess. Another booster as always. I definitely feel that after reading your lovely posts, I'm a little less negative about some things now!

  • Darcie

    Dude, you rule. For that matter, i'll just say it- So do I 🙂 This is exactly what I needed today.

  • AsianCajuns

    A perfect thought for a Monday. I definitely needed this reminder! Must de-stress…

  • Charlie

    Great lovely well written post. self love is one of the great foundations of a total healthy person and you have put in such a simply and wonderful way 🙂

  • Summer

    You are really a wonderful person. And this is very true. And thanks for reminding us. Looking forward on your next post.=)

    A Writers Den
    The Brown Mestizo

  • Annie

    Here's the part where I make a joke about masterbation ;>

  • Jill

    Great post and I enjoy reading your blog. From what I've seen, you give great comments on self acceptance and love- I was a little disappointed to see the photo you selected. Yes, cool how you found it, but I would have thought maybe a real woman's body could be represented. Just a thought- not meant to be disrespectful. 🙂

  • Sheila

    You're preachin' to the choir, m'dear! Wise words and definitely wisdom to live by!

  • Pretty Little Pictures

    Your posts always make me feel a little teary-in-a-good-way. A lovely post to start the week, thanks 🙂

  • Missa

    Thankyou for the wise words Sal, so well put 🙂

  • Paper Bag Princess

    Amen sister! There is an epidemic in this society of fabulous ladies not putting love-of-self FIRST. Thanks for your awesome post (and blog)!!!

  • Zuzuli

    I gave you a credit on my blog…You are so wonderful for posting the thoughts that are in my mind. And the minds of others too! Thank you Sal!

  • Sal

    Jill: I know you meant no disrespect, but my dear, there's nothing unreal about the woman's body pictured here. Please see http://www.alreadypretty.com/2009/06/reality-check.html

  • daddylikeyblog

    I'm still working on mastering the total self-love but I definitely have total Sal-love! Great post, doll!

  • Hanako66

    I love your message……and that amazing photo!

  • Rita

    I found this post via the link from today's post (7/23/09). Thank you for writing this. I say this with tears in my eyes because I know it's truth but have such a hard time in it's practice. I've printed this one and will keep it with me as a reminder. I'm sending you a hug, because you deserve one and I could use one! 🙂

  • Sal

    Rita: Oh doll. Hugs for you, too.