Monday, February 28, 2011

The Greatest Love of All

Every Monday in February, we are focusing on some aspect of love. After all, as the song says, Love is a many splendored thing!
Whether you are listening to the George Benson original or the Whitney Houston remake, you know the song, The Greatest Love of All. If you listen to the words, you know that learning to love yourself , it is the greatest love of all.
Society would have us to think otherwise. Loving your partner, your kids, your career, your family, all seem to come before loving yourself and you can make an argument for any of those loves. However, think about it this way.
Those who don't love themselves often find themselves in relationships with partners who don't love them and give them the love and respect they deserve.
Parents who don't love themselves find themselves giving everything to their children to a point where they cease to have an identity separate from their kids. They also give and give and give until there is nothing left to give or to a point where they even begin to resent their children. Ironically, the kids suffer.
Those who love their careers, work themselves into sickness and sometimes even out of a job only to realize that all work, all the time didn't give nearly as much to them as they gave to it.
Loving yourself isn't synonymous with selfishness. Loving yourself means that you take care of yourself: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It means that you recognize that your needs have value, and that your needs are a priority. If you are physically ill or emotionally spent or spiritually bankrupt, then you are no benefit to anyone.
Loving yourself means that you set boundaries and standards for yourself. There are certain behaviors that you will not stand for or tolerate. Loving yourself means expecting others to respond to your needs and your requirements as you respond to theirs.
Loving yourself is the key to having loving and reciprocal relationships with others. learning to love yourself is indeed the greatest love of all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting to Goal: Check-in

If you set some goals for yourself this year (notice I didn't say resolutions), how are you doing? If you have fallen off the wagon, I want to encourage you to get back on.

If you get off track, know that it's not too late, it's never too late to get back on. The difference between success and failure isn't that you have fallen of track, it's that you didn't get back on.

Success is never flawless. Ask any 'success' story and they will regale you with stories of all of their bumps and bruises; missed opportunities; and mistakes. And this goes for any and all success. We could be talking about Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. We could be talking about your cousin who lost fifteen pounds or your best friend who made self-care a priority.

Heck, Bill Gates dropped out of college and his first business failed. They made a movie about all the bridges Mark Zuckerberg burned while creating Facebook. If you talk to your cousin, she'll tell you about the time she had a few donuts at the Monday morning meeting or how she went a week without exercising. Your best friend can tell you about how difficult it was to break her workaholic ways.

The journey to success is bumpy. It's filled with potholes and detours. It doesn't matter if you fall off of the horse or how many times you fall, the important thing is that you always get up.

Failure doesn't make you a failure; it makes you human.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Do You Love?

Every Monday in February, we are focusing on some aspect of love. After all, as the song says, Love is a many splendored thing!

I actually have two questions today:
  1. Who do you love?
  2. Do they know that you love them?

Number one is easy enough. You know who you love. However, it's often the people we love the most who question our feelings or our devotion. Many people would say "Of course So-n-So knows I love them." But, do they really?

When is the last time you came out and told them? When is the last time you did something special for someone you love?

I'm not just asking that question about romantic partners. I'm including: parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, heck, even pets! LOL!

Assuming is a dangerous habit and it's even worse when it interferes with our ability to express our feelings. If your answer to the question, "Do the people you love know you love them?" is "They should know," you're in trouble.

People only know what you tell them and what you show them and even then some people just don't get it. It takes effort on your part. You have to communicate and demonstrate. Show and tell. And the best part is that you don't have to wait for a holiday, birthday, anniversary or special occasion to show your affection.

Do it now and do it often.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why So SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that attempts to explain why we are more prone to the blahs in the winter. SAD says that the shorter days and the increased number of cloudy days can create a seasonal depression in some of us. If you find that your sad moods decrease as the days get longer and sunnier, there is a chance that you might be affected by seasonal affected disorder.

Whether that is your official diagnosis or not, a lot of us are affected by the winter blahs. It’s mid-February but no matter what the groundhog says we’ve got a good month of winter left before it really starts to get better. It’s still cold. The days are still short, so for many of us, working out outside isn’t possible. And, I don’t know about you, but when I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, it makes me a lot less likely to want to do anything at all once I get home. We’re humans and not bears, but part of me wants to hibernate in the winter.

So whether you’re officially SAD or just a little blah, here are some things that can keep you upbeat until the sun starts staying up longer.

  • Keep in Touch: Connect with friends and family daily or at least on a regular basis. And, make an effort to get out socially once a week (or at least once every two weeks). There is something about spending time in the company of others that is energizing.
  • Do Something with Your Time Indoors: You know me, I blog. However, I also enjoy writing in my journal and I love working on my puzzle books. I’m also taking an online course to get to know my camera better. When you keep your mind occupied, you’ll find you don’t give yourself the time to get the blahs.
  • Work It Out: I love doing exercise DVDs. The great thing about them is that you can do them at any time and in the comfort of your own home. If that doesn’t appeal to you, if you have a gym membership, try to get yourself to go a couple of times a week. At the very least, walk in place while you watch your favorite shows. Exercise raises your endorphin level which makes you feel good. Plus, if you keep it moving you can avoid the weight gain that often comes with the winter months.
So what will you to make it through the rest of winter without feeling SAD?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Indulge in Love

Every Monday in February, we are focusing on some aspect of love. After all, as the song says, Love is a many splendored thing!

Valentine's Day is for lovers. Having said that, I've spent plenty of Valentine's Days alone. So today's post will be divided into two. One part for the couples among us and one part is for the singles among us. Read the part that applies to you.

For The Couples
There are two ways this day can go for you: one fraught with fun and romance, the other fraught with fuming anger and disappointment. The key to making Valentine's Day work for you is to make sure you are both on the same page. If one of you is thinking "Ah! Romance! An intimate dinner at my favorite restaurant, flowers, gifts and expressions of love and longing all day long" and the other is thinking "I'll rush to the store for a card and other than that, it's just another day," ... we have a problem.
Talking about expectations doesn't spoil the fun and make surprises impossible, but it does make for fewer arguments and disappointments. Yes, you may be reading this on Valentine's Day but that doesn't mean it's too late! Get on the same page! Now!
Also, find a way to honor the person you are with and the relationship you have. There is no cookie cutter approach to this ... all women (and men) are different, what works for one, won't necessarily work for the other. Flowers might work (as long as there is no allergy), candy could be good (unless your partner is on a diet and then maybe a fruit bouquet would be better), a heartfelt card could be nice (if your partner is the sensitive type) or maybe even a funny card (if your partner is goofy like me).
Ideally, something more individualized might be in order. I have a friend who does intimate photography for singles and couples, maybe that would be a gift you'd like to give ( Shopping for lingerie or other goodies could be fun as well. As long as both of you are enjoying yourselves, anything goes!
Whatever you do, you make it special when you base it on what you think your partner will like. Have fun!
For the Singles
Okay, so you don't have a partner right now. It's okay. This day isn't designed for you but it doesn't mean you can't have fun anyway.
If you know a few other singles, get together and go out together. Dress up, go to a favorite restaurant and go out as a group. Pamper yourself. Get a massage. Go shopping. Treat yourself to a manicure and a pedicure. If you can afford it, a little retail therapy never hurts.
The moral of the story for singles is that you are single and that's fine. I don't really care what you do as long as you don't sulk and get all depressed. I know sometimes I feel like the world is made for couples. It's easier to think that the grass is always greener on the other side, but it's not always the case.
You're single for a reason and for a season. You could be in relationships right now, but you don't want a relationship, you want the right relationship and that takes time. The truth of the matter is that when you are single, there are a lot of reasons why you want to have a relationship. When you are in a relationship, you'll look back and think of some of the benefits of being single.
So celebrate today because you are exactly where you need to be.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Must be the Music

I was driving home from work the other day when an old song came on the radio. Instantly, I was transported back to my sophomore year in college. It was magical. Memories came flooding back and it felt good, really good. I'm pretty sure I put on a good show for people driving next to me in traffic as I sang and danced along with this old friend.

Shakespeare said, "If music be the food of love, play on," but music communicates so much more than love. Music has a power to transport us to another place or time. It can evoke strong emotions. It can anger us. It can empower us. It can draw us further down into despair. It can soothe our weary souls. It can change our moods. It's a force to be reckoned with.

So today, or tomorrow, throw in a favorite CD and revel in the joy that is music.

Come back and share which songs move you the most.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ah! Love!: The Five Languages of Love

Every Monday in February, we are focusing on some aspect of love. After all, as the song says, Love is a many splendored thing!

Marriage counselor Gary Chapman has written an amazing book called The Five Love Languages. The premise is simple. There are five primary ways that people express and interpret love. The languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

Problems arise when two people get together and find that they are speaking two different languages.

If your primary language is Quality Time then you appreciate long drives with a partner, spending an evening together, a weekend away or even time spent together watching TV. When your partner spends time with you, you feel loved. When you offer to spend time with your loved one, you expect them to be loved as well. After all, it works for you, right?


Your partner's primary language is Acts of Service. He gets your car fixed. He makes sure the lawn is mowed and he picks up after himself at the house. In fact, he's always showing you that he loves you, so much so that he's too busy to want to sit around and talk! He doesn't understand why you don't appreciate him for all he does.

See the problem here?

We speak one language and we naturally assume that our partner speaks that language as well. When they don't, we misinterpret their actions or we feel that our needs aren't being met. We need to know our language but we also need to know our partners as well.

Want to know what love language you're speaking. Take the
quiz and find out. Come back and share your results!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Lucky you, if you are reading this from sunny California or Arizona! Most of us back East have at least another 6 weeks of winter (being from Cleveland, I always thought the Groundhog was optimistic to limit his prediction to just 6 more weeks of winter).

Days are short. Nights are long. And for many of us, it's freezing! Most of us will spend our time running from home to the car and then from the car to work and back again. It's too cold to even think about taking a walk or enjoying some real time outside.

So what do you do when you are cooped up in the house.

Here are a few things I do.

TV: It's a guilty pleasure to be sure and I've been chastised by many who feel television is beneath them. But I enjoy TV and movies. I enjoy them so much that I have a whole other blog devoted to them (It's a shameless plug, I know, but if you want to check that blog out it's at

Puzzle Books: If you go to the magazine section in any drugstore, grocery store or Wal-Mart or Target, you will find puzzle books loaded with a variety of puzzles. I think they are a lot of fun. Plus, keeping your mind busy with word searches, fill-in, sudukos or crosswords helps keep your mind agile and alert as you get older!

Coloring: Yes, I color. I keep a coloring book and a pack of 64 crayons by my favorite chair in the living room. I find coloring to be soothing and relaxing.

Journaling: I guess it's no surprise that I would journal. I find journaling is a great way to get my thoughts out and help me work through the things I have on my mind.

Computer Time: In addition to watching silly videos on YouTube, I enjoy blogging and emailing old friends. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a single personal email from an old friend means a lot more than 100 emails that are forwarded to everyone on your mailing list!

Gabbing: I also call old friends when I don't feel like writing and just catch up. There is no better way to pass the time than to find out what an old friend or relative has been up to.

So what do you plan on doing to weather the rest of this winter weather?