You are the Sun

Love yourself collage

As we head into the month of romance, and my grandchildren begin to think about what paper valentines they should choose for their class party and couples secure flower bouquets and dinner reservations, I begin to think about love and relationships! Our lives revolve around our relationships, some of them romantic, those that we have with our family, friends, co-workers and others, those that are complicated and those that are simple. My thoughts reminded me of a question I had asked myself many years ago: “Why do we have such different experiences when it comes to our relationships?”

For me, the answer always comes full circle…every one of my relationships is a reflection of myself and the love that I have for myself. Just as the Earth orbits the Sun because of the pull of the Sun’s gravity, I pull others to me depending on the positive or negative energy that I am transmitting. You can only imagine how difficult it was for me to come to this revelation, and the moment I realized this I knew that I had to start doing some soul-searching to learn more about me. It might sound silly, but really, I did not know me as well as I thought I did! I believe that to truly love yourself, you have to fully recognize not only your good qualities, but also those areas that are holding you back from attracting healthy relationships.

Have you ever noticed how we sometimes tend to attract the same type of person over and over and cannot figure out why? Or have you ever looked to others to make you happy … only to realize later that no one can make you happy except yourself? We often send out signals like a radio tower, calling those who are similar to ourselves to join us on our journey—and then halfway down the road, we wish we had invited someone else. If this sounds familiar to you, you may want to ask yourself: what do you want to attract, and why do you think you may not be attracting it? If we aren’t attracting the type of people who we want by our side for the long haul, it might be time to look within and start loving you from the inside out!

Failing to love ourselves can definitely have consequences. For those of you who have been indulging in the latest series of The Bachelor, you probably remember a scene where one of the bachelorettes was unloading some serious emotional baggage on her first date. The whole interaction gave me terrible anxiety. All I could think was how much pain she was in over her last break-up. Clearly, she had not taken some much-needed time to reflect and identify all of her great qualities so she could regain her strength and confidence as a woman who loves herself first and invites others to be part of her life second. If she had put herself first, the episode might have turned out much differently. Now that she has moved on from The Bachelor, I want to believe that she found the inner strength that we all possess, to stay true to herself and never stray from her desired path. I have been just like her, and I bet some of you can also relate. But today, I have embraced the joy that each of my relationships add to my life, and they are more meaningful than I could have ever dreamed. How did it happen? I chose to love and respect my whole self—and by doing so, I gave myself permission to love and respect others. I am not claiming that the process was easy at first. It took commitment and practice.

Not everyone readily embraces their best qualities, nor easily identifies the negative debris that they are mirroring. Once I had, I needed some daily reminding for a while until it came naturally, so I wrote down my good traits and items I needed to work on, and posted where I could constantly see it (my sun-visor and bathroom mirror).  This is a great first step to fostering self-love and self-acceptance and being the nucleus of your universe.

Jewel wrote a beautiful song I want to share with you called “Stronger Woman” that sums this up perfectly. I love how she talks about being her own best friend, and I hope it inspires you.

There is so much truth to the saying “Love is grand,” and healthy love begins with you.

Now that we are on the road to loving ourselves, I want to gather around and talk about our first loves. I thought it would be fun to learn more about each other by sharing a series of love stories for the Valentine’s Day season—and to start the first chapter, I am interested in hearing about your first love! Everyone has a first love, and I’m curious: do you ever wonder about him or her? Do you think they ever wonder about you? Please take some time to comment, and at the end of the series of comments, I will fill you in on my first love, too!

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  1. Alta Hayes

    I met my first love a month before my 15th birthday. We used to walk to his house every day after school. It was spring time and one day it was raining very heavy and we got soaked but we had so much fun playing and running in the rain. His name is Robert and he was 16. We were inseperable from the first. He made me wait an entire month for our first kiss. He waited for my 15th birthday. May 8, 1985 will live in my heart forever. We were together for almost a year when my dad said i had to break up with him. I was devastated. He never said why. I think he was afraid we were going to have sex or already had. He was mistaken. We would have eventually im sure but he wanted my first time to be special. My dad worked for the school. He had pulled strings to get me transferred to that school district. He was also very explosive and i was scared that he would hurt Robert or me. I knew he would actually. He threatened to pull me out of school also. So i did what he wanted. I will always regret that. Robert left town. I never saw him again………..till November 2009. He found me on face book. We talk every few weeks by email sometimes a month or two goes by. We are both married with families. I told him truthfully that i never stopped loving him. I got the chance to tell him what exactly happened so many years ago. He told me he loves me also. We’ve never met in person because we arent run around joes and we both agree that would be playing with fire and its best not to put ourselves in a position to be tempted. Its enough to know our love is still alive and i have someone in this world who loves me and always will. I got a small heart tattoed on my wrist to symbolize my heart on my sleeve for Robert.

    Alta Hayes

  2. Patty Marmann

    Loved this! As I read your article, I found myself smiling. It has taken years to finally learn to Love Myself and I do notice the change in people I have attracted over the years…I enjoyed listening to Jewels song, I will be sharing this article with every Woman I know! Thank You Patty for sharing yourself with us 🙂

  3. Jane Schlotterbeck

    I remember my first love as if it was yesterday. I was only 13 and an experience I will never forget. He is still in my life as a distant friend and yes I do think about him often as he does me. Maybe its not him and just the thought about how it made me feel instead. My first kiss, my first Valentine, my first innocent love letter. I still have the little love letters he sent me, folded in triangle shaped footballs. I reflect back on these letters if only for a laugh at how simple young love was and sometimes from the yearning to feel like that once more….

  4. Amanda Schwab

    My first love was full of passion and adventure built on a foundation of friendship. We still see each other in random passing and catch up like old friends, but we no longer actively seek one another out. I was so involved with him that I forgot myself and the relationship fizzled. I’ve learned over the years that you have to make yourself important for others to view you as such. I won’t say I succeed every day, but I am getting there.

    Thanks for this encouraging a reaffirming post! And thank you for the confidence you have helped me build through Pure Romance. I have found you truly empowering, Patty.

  5. pattybrisben

    Thank you for sharing stories about your first loves. Since you’ve opened up your hearts to me, I’m going to make good on my own promise and share the story of my first love with all of you… I met my first love the summer before my freshmen year. I had always lived in a two-bedroom house until that “summer of love” when my family bought a 4-bedroom Cape Cod. I remember being so excited because for the first time I would have my own bedroom and would even get to pick the paint color – a bright, wild orange that my mom must have been crazy to allow! (I know you’re thinking that I should have painted that room pink, but it wasn’t even part of my color palette, yet.)

    I quickly became great friends with a boy who lived just three houses down from me, yet as much time as we spent with one another, he neglected to tell me he had a very hot cousin. The first time he brought him to my house, sparks flew. The funniest part is that I wasn’t expecting him, so I opened the door with my hair in rollers and not a touch of lip-gloss or mascara. Well, apparently he didn’t mind a bit, and when a guy falls for you with can rollers in your hair, you know it’s meant to be. He was my boyfriend from that 8th grade summer to my senior year in high school.

    Besides being very attractive, there were a lot of things I loved about him. Unlike me, he came from a large family so I loved being part of his family holidays, and it instilled in me a deep desire to start a large family when I grew up. He was older, played guitar in a band and rode a motorcycle, but not entirely a “bad boy.” He had a romantic side, often serenading me throughout our relationship. In fact, this remained true years later when my mom took it upon herself to surprise me and take me to the place where he was playing (long after we’d parted ways). As we sat and listened, he suddenly stopped and said he wanted to play a song for some special people in the audience and played my favorite song. (Sigh.)

    Although it didn’t last, I have run into this person throughout my life; it’s normal to still get tingles when the memories come flooding back. Coincidentally, I received a call around Valentine’s Day from my son and he asked if I had dated someone by the name of this first love. My son’s lifelong high school friend had called him and said, “I think your mom is on my Uncle’s Facebook page.” He sent me a link to the photo of us getting ready to go to our high school prom. It immediately took me back to that time in our lives and reminded me of being young and in love. It also made me start asking those around me if they ever thought about their first loves. People often think it’s a “girl thing” to reminisce about past loves, but what I discovered is that everyone does – it’s a universal human experience.

    I truly believe people come into our lives for a reason and to reflect back to us who we are. They become a part of us regardless of the outcome of our relationships. No matter how enduring or fleeting, they always leave a lasting impression and live on in our hearts and minds.

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