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What Did You Get for Valentine’s Day?

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I was stunned to learn that over $13.2 billion, yes BILLION, gets spent on Valentine’s Day.

Between cards, candy, and roses, more than half of the population of the United States receives or gives something on this day. Wow, that is a lot of love.

16135071_sShowing someone close to you that you love them is a very tender expression. Love is one of the most powerful emotions we can demonstrate. People in all walks of life crave the need to be loved. Yet I am convinced that one of the most difficult situations for giving and receiving love involves the love we share with ourselves.

In Mark 12:31, Jesus tells us “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This has been translated into the “Golden Rule” that many of us were taught as kids; “treat people the way you want to be treated.”

I think the meaning is more significant in the original text. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It took me years to really grasp the “…as yourself” part of that commandment. Jesus himself is telling us it is OK to love ourselves. It makes sense. If we cannot or do not love ourselves, how can we share love with anyone else?

Here is the challenge and my purpose for including this message with my other lessons for managers and business leaders.

Being placed in a role with responsibility for managing others demands the ability to relate to and care for people. I believe everyone has had the experience of dealing with a boss who seemingly didn’t care for anyone on his team. It was a miserable experience, right? On the other hand, if you had a manager who expressed a genuine sense of love and caring, it was a much happier place to work. And wasn’t the productivity greater in the latter?

Loving yourself though is a tough concept to master. I find it is actually a very delicate balance. So to strike the right balance, let’s talk first about the extremes.

Not Enough Self Love

The world is full of people who haven’t yet found a way to love themselves. I am not a qualified psychologist, nor do I offer that kind of counsel, but it does not take an expert to recognize a personality who has no love for themselves. I said we’re talking about the extremes.

This behavior manifests in many ways. Here are just a few.

  • Poor hygiene
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Constantly belittling themselves with open comments
  • Hurtful behaviors like anger and hostility

If you spend any time talking to these people you will get a sense of their self-doubt, fear, and nervousness about life and business. Any good idea is quickly discounted or ignored for fear of making a mistake.

Folks in this mindset make terrible managers.

Too Much Self Love

For me this group is much easier to talk about. Love yourself too much and you might get labeled as a egotist or narcissist. Of course this only shows when the person is too vocal about how much they love themselves. Their behaviors often involve actions without consideration of others. They just do things without regard for others feelings.

They make choices and set schedules without consulting the significant people in their lives (spouses, children or friends). When you can’t respond to what they have set up, they are incredulous to your inability to perform for them.

Again, it is hard to work with people who have this extreme view of themselves.

Self Love Balance

If you can find the right balance of self love you will exhibit traits like these:

  • Confidence in the face of great challenge
  • Peace when making decisions
  • Grace when dealing with others
  • Energy to share with others
  • Calm when others around you are going crazy
  • Resolve to do the right thing

Summary

When you have found your own center of balance about loving yourself, you will never lord it over others. Nor will your attitude about the love be overbearing. It will show others an inner strength and resilience.

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]Being able to love yourself will show others an inner strength and resilience.[/shareable]

More importantly, it will be the gold standard by which you can love others; showing them the peace, grace and mercy they may need when deadlines are looming and work gets them stressed out.

Did you give yourself something for Valentine’s Day? How about a long stare in the mirror to say “I Love You!”

[reminder]Leave a comment to share your thoughts.[/reminder]