The most important relationship tool for Chicago parents: Self love

When we think love, we think romance, we think children, we think family and friends.

We love to love, but we often love at a deficit because we forget to love ourselves. Our ability to love others is sabotaged when we forget to love ourselves. Carrying around negativity about who we are or constantly criticizing our way of being drains our energy and limits our ability to offer ourselves fully.

When we are limited by constant feelings of inadequacy, these feelings become the lens through which we view the world, our experiences, and the people around us.

Love is an internal job; you can’t give away what you don’t have. If you want to be a good partner, you need to honor who you are. If you want your children to love themselves, you need to model what it looks like.

Your choice to put yourself last only decreases what you have to give.

Since this is a month dedicated to love, create daily practices that reflect your dedication to self love: Be alone. Say no to things you don’t want to do. Recognize and question the internal voice that criticizes. Spend time with people who make you smile. Enjoy inspirational music. Take a long bath. Forgive yourself. Laugh and play.

Question the voice that says you don’t have time for self love. That’s an old tape, a misinformed way of thinking that says you must sacrifice yourself for others if you want to feel love.

Self love is a daily choice, a conscious practice. It’s an ongoing decision to recognize your worth and make yourself a priority. It’s the ability to receive as well as you give.

It’s also an acceptance; an acceptance of your imperfections, inabilities and inner puzzle. Don’t hold off on loving yourself until you have it all perfected and figured out. If you do, you will spend a lifetime watching, waiting and hoping.

We are lovable with flaws. We are worthy when we make mistakes. We are valuable simply because we are here.

Make self love your top coping mechanism, your way of dealing with an often unpredictable and busy life

And more importantly, recognize that it is the first and most essential step in connecting with the ones who matter most.

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