February-Valentines Day-A day when we are encouraged to express our love freely
and openly to those who matter the most in our lives. And every year, we put a
lot of time and effort into planning for this one event. We wonder what we can
do to make this a special day for our partners. We question what we can give
them. WE buy gifts; we choose cards; we select special flowers. Finally, we
prepare for a romantic evening out. We may buy a new dress or search for new
shoes or look for something special to help celebrate and share all the love we
have in our lives and in our hearts. But every year, we leave someone out!

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Each Valentine's Day, we forget ourselves! On a day dedicated to joyously
celebrating love we neglect to honor and acknowledge the love we have for us. 
We just don't think about it! For some, the mere thought of it causes
embarrassment. Why do we generally harbor a feeling that self-love is wrong? 
Why do we believe it to be vain or self-centered? Or worse yet, why can we
find no reason TO love ourselves? Maybe it's because we can see our flaws so
clearly. And so we believe that others must be able to see them too. Maybe
it's these horrible imperfections that cause us to feel unworthy of our own
love. Yet if we can't love ourselves, how can we love anyone else and how can
we expect anyone else to love us in return, including our families??

So often I hear women complain that their spouses and their children take them
for granted. These women do EVERYTHING around the house without asking for
help, without complaining, without seeking anything in return. They GIVE and
give and give, continuously and silently. Sooner or later all that they do
catches up with them. They tire and become tired of all the chores, of all the
responsibilities of all the giving. They get angry with their family for not
helping out and for EXPECTING them to do all that they do. But why shouldn't
the family expect it? They know no different.

We set the tone for how we will be treated by our families, our employers, our
friends and even strangers. We do this by the way in which we treat ourselves
and by the way in which we ALLOW others to treat us. 

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The people in our lives will respond to us in the same manner we respond to us.
IF we treat ourselves without respect, without appreciation, and without
gratitude then others will do the same. Conversely, if we treat ourselves with
dignity, love and honor, than others will do the same. WE set the example.

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In the same way, it is our belief in our own worthiness that creates the limits
for how we will allow ourselves to be treated. If we ALLOW our families to
EXPECT and to take us for granted, then they will! If establish limits and
boundaries for how we will allow ourselves to be treated, our families will
come to respect those too. It all starts with us!

So this Valentine's Day do something a little bit different. Put some time and
effort into planning to make this day special for you. Question what you can
give yourself and make sure you give yourself the gift of time. If only for a
few minutes, take this day and HONOR you. Love yourself in spite of your
imperfections. It is NOT vain. It is NOT self centered. It IS respectful and
I can't think of anyone who deserves your respect more. 

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