No, I am not talking about the Justin Bieber song; but, I am talking about YOU. As we approach Valentine’s Day, albeit a Hallmark holiday, I thought it would be fitting to talk about love. I want you to think about your first true love. That is, YOU! Well, at least it should be you. 

Do you love yourself? You might answer “yes” right away – or maybe, sadly, you might say “no”; but, before you answer, I want you to dig deep and answer these questions:

- What words would you use to describe yourself? Take a moment and write down three of them.
- What types of thoughts do you have about yourself? Jot down your own impression of you.
- How often do you tell yourself you can’t? How often do you tell yourself you can? Keep track.
- Are you stuck in something because you keep telling yourself “not yet”?
- Are you in toxic, depleting relationships? Or, do you surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you? I hope it’s the latter. 
- Do you torture yourself with trendy, yo-yo diets? Argh! We all have at one time or another.
- Do you make the time to move your body and your mind each day?
- How often do you take the time to just breathe and be present with yourself, your loved ones and the nature around you?
- How do you feed your soul? 

How do you love yourself? It may seem overly simple – but, it all starts right here, right now, with YOU. Not only is it true that we need to love ourselves before we can love others; but, it is also true that we need to care for and nourish ourselves before we can do the same for someone else. Make sense? Think of the air masks on airplanes. The flight attendant always directs anyone traveling with a child to put his/her air mask on first. Get it???!! I am telling you to put your air mask on first.

We all know there are things that we could do to take better care of ourselves; but, all too often, we do not do them. All too often we do not put our own air masks on first. 

It may sound cliché, but we only have this one life. The life you are living and the body in which you are living is it. You are not going to get another one. Why not make the most of it? 

How do you do that? Well, you need to care for your body and, even more importantly, your mind, heart and soul. Without taking care of those 4 areas first, no amount of fitness or proper nutrition is going to keep you healthy at least not in the long term. In order to be a happy, healthy, whole person and live an abundant life, you need to look at all areas of your life to find what works for you and what makes you most fulfilled and balanced -- both physically and mentally. How to accomplish this maybe easier said than done; but I have a few concrete ideas to get you started:

1. Stop worrying about what people think of you. Did you know that the body holds on to fear, hurt, resentment, jealously, worry and anger? Not only do foods impact your body’s pH balance, these types of negative emotions can make your body chemistry acidic. Disease grows in acidic bodies. Happy emotions, such as love, make your body’s pH alkaline (i.e. balanced). So what am I saying here??? STOP WORRYING -- LET GO!!! Letting go is healing. As simple as the saying “mind over matter” is, it works! If you don’t mind, they (you know, those people that you are worried about) don’t matter. You matter. This is your life – remember it’s the only one you’ve got!

2. Don’t look to others for your own happiness. Start with you first. Think of the most nourishing voice in your life. Now speak to yourself in that voice. Get ready to craft the life that serves you best, your body, heart, mind and soul.

3. Love your mind. Learn something new, read, listen to music, play music. Consider meditating to clear your mind of negative thoughts so you can make room for positive ones.

4. Love your heart. Disconnect from your “to do” list and all of your electronic gadgets. Spend time doing something you love. Take time for reflection so you can assess where you are, accept where you are, set goals and move forward.

5. Love your body. Move, stretch, and breathe. Go for a walk in nature. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Drink water. Nourish it with whole, clean, unprocessed foods. Eat organic. Be mindful of your food choices. Take the time to chew.

6. Love others. Spend time with meaningful, fulfilling relationships in your life. Reach out to someone with whom you have lost touch. Share what is on your mind. Forgive an old hurt.

I challenge you today to start doing one thing a day for YOU. One thing that makes you feel good. Write yourself love notes. Tell yourself, You ARE ENOUGH, You ARE READY, You DESERVE to be the BEST YOU! 

Make this Valentine’s Day about loving yourself by nourishing your mind, body, heart and soul. I want you to PAUSE and be most mindful of your first true love -- YOU.

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“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”– Buddha