My parents are not the affectionate type. They have their qualities and they did their best while my sister and I were growing up - or at least our mom did. As someone with a background in Psychology with clinical experience, and who went through her own therapeutic process, it'd be weird to deny how much my parents were hold responsible for certain experiences or the lack thereof during my childhood. They may not had been the example of affection, though they surely cared and loved us. Despite the generational as well as parenting differences, there is one thing they passed on to us which I feel blessed about. And that is: Values. I mention Values with capital letter since I am not referring here to a specific value, but the concept itself. I believe that this sense of Values has been paramount during my development and growth. It guided me throughout my adolescence while I was still figuring out who I could be and who I did not want to become. There were countless times where things could have gone south...bad influences during a susceptible developmental phase. Being a mom myself, I am pretty sure my mom had her fearful moments, though she never let that reflect upon me. I guess she decided to trust me - and the sense of Values she instilled in me. From my side, I would not say adolescence was a walk in the park because it was not. However, I always felt a kind of north star lightening my way from within. Every time I struggled either from a breakup or some other painful relationship experience, I always found the road back to myself. Every time I failed myself or someone I loved, I was able to find forgiveness. Every time I doubted myself, there was always something to keep me moving forward. This love and trust given to me by my parents, it evolved and transformed itself in self-love. May sound obvious and I couldn't be happier if this is also your experience, though it should not to be taken for granted. So many of us struggle to be in a healthy relationship - romantic or otherwise. Often getting ourselves hurt and ending blaming the other person. But do not forget that it takes two to tango! Meaning, a relationship is a two-way street and to be loved you must show your love back. And most important, you must love yourself. Let me ask you the following: How can you love someone else if you do not love yourself in the first place? Learning how to love yourself is a process, especially if you did not have the best example growing up. Perhaps you need to break some patterns and overcome a few barriers. As a first step: Make a list of all the things you love about yourself. It is fine if it does not flow naturally. Take a couple of minutes, breathe deep, and start again. Think about what defines you, how your family and friends describe you, what you are proud of, what makes you smile about yourself. Do not miss tomorrow's episode of 'Keep or Lose a Connection with' which will be dedicated to the theme of self-love where I share more concrete strategies. How you show yourself love matters for the way you love yourself is a mirror to how others love you back.
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