Ahhhh Love….it can be quite an abstract concept to explain. Is it a feeling…an action…an experience...a thing? The age old question arises, what is love anyway? Its intangible nature feels its way to capture the attention of our hearts as we read novels of passionate love, listen to the lyrics and melodies of songs weaving in the musician’s experience of the joys of fulfillment or the pain of unrequited love, and watch romantic movies evoking a warm and fuzzy or empty feeling in our hearts, depending on where we are with respect to love and relationships at that moment.

This feeling of love is one that most of us have experienced, whether it was the giddy, intoxicating feeling when we first met our “soul mate”, the welling of joy in our hearts as we first lay eyes on our precious newborn, or being serenaded by the purrs as we pet our furrier friends, to the melting of our hearts as we read the carefully spelled phrase, “I LOVE YOU” on the hand made valentine card that became a little tattered as it made it’s way home in the artist’s backpack, or many of the other miracles of love that we have all shared in our life experiences.

There is a connection of love, however, that I never knew existed, at least had not experienced, for the better part of the first four decades of my life. One that evokes an incredible, euphoric sensation that even tops the ‘walking on cloud nine’ feeling of falling madly in love with another person.

When first introduced to this concept of self-love, my pragmatic, analytical left brain had a hard time grasping it. I thought I knew what love was, although I had no idea, until I experienced this connection of self-love, how much time and energy I had expended over the course of my life trying to fill this internal place with people and experiences outside of myself.

I learned that, to fall in love with yourself is not selfish, egotistical or self-indulgent….it is a wonderful, humbling experience, offering a new perspective and one that attracted more love, peace and happiness into my life.

It took me a while to take the blinders off to see that my whole life had been trying to mirror back for me the level to which I had become disconnected from my own love. In looking at my own picture as a baby, not more than a few months old, it’s pretty clear that I was definitely born with that connection to pure love and joy in tact.

So I started to open to the idea that maybe, albeit as self-righteous as I was then, that just maybe I didn’t have all the answers, and there was a deeper connection of love that I wasn’t aware of.

I worked and worked at peeling back the layers that had built up over the years, not unlike the insulation around an electrical wire that, unless you use the wire strippers to reveal the bare wires, you cannot make a viable connection to allow the current to move through.

I remember when I had started to become more connected that I felt so much happier, and lighter, both physically as well as figuratively and everyday was an opportunity for me to bring this joyous new me into my life. Whenever I would see someone I knew, and sometimes even strangers, they would comment on how great I looked or that there was a sparkle in my eye and in my smile. “You’re in love…who’s the new man?” they would excitedly ask.

It still makes me smile as I recall the perplexed expressions on their faces as I would tell them that there was no new man! But it was wonderful to know that I was reflecting on the outside exactly how I was feeling on the inside and soon I began to connect the dots that everyone in my life was a mirror reflecting what was in me…not only the good stuff!!

There are transformational benefits to cultivating a strong connection to self-love, as it creates a sense of awareness that expands our capacity to be more compassionate, forgiving and empathetic as we are able to truly understand that in the moments when others, in either our personal or professional lives, or even ourselves for that matter, are behaving in ways which are inappropriate, hurtful or disrespectful, it is the lack of this incredible connection to self-love that allows this behaviour to exist.

Like any exercise regime, it takes commitment and work to achieve the results we desire and I can only speak from my own experience that the fears, self-doubts, angers, judgments and blames were the clouds that masked the warm sun of my own love, and they dissipate more and more, everyday.

All you need is love…Love heals…Love makes the world go ‘round. I hope you enjoy all of the gifts of love that show up in your life. You needn’t wait, like I used to, for the card, candy or flowers to show up on Valentine’s Day...you can experience as much love as you want anytime…from the inside out!

Author's Bio: 

A reaction, a look or a phrase, and we catch ourselves, “I’ve turned into my mom/dad!” Jo-Anne Cutler is no exception. Once she became aware of the unconscious messages that accompanied her words and reactions, she made a conscious choice to change. Jo-Anne knew that if she could do it, anyone could. In addition to being a writer, she supports her vision of empowering and inspiring others to be the parents, teachers and role models the children of this world need them to be, by creating awareness as a speaker and coach, offering programs as well as a monthly newsletter on how to keep all the great stuff we’ve learned from our parents while breaking the cycle of the, well, not so good stuff! For more information or to contact Jo-Anne directly, please visit http://www.jcconnections.ca