How much do you love yourself? No seriously. How much? It is a question I pose to all the women in my life, especially when I see them climbing up on their “no one cares for me” soap boxes. I am not casting judgment, we all have our moments of feeling unwanted, uncared for, and even undesirable, but it is what we provide for ourselves in those moments that truly answers my previously asked question.

Why am I asking you if you love you? Because loving oneself is an imperative part of a fulfilling life. Without self-love, and self-awareness, life as we know it would cease to have true meaning. I do not know if anyone has ever told you, but life really is all about you! Now of course that is a contextual statement, but without the ability to love, cherish, honor, and appreciate yourself, you will never be able to genuinely, love, honor, or appreciate anyone else you come in contact with. On the flip side of things, you also will not be able to fully accept love, honor, and appreciation until you have tended to your own emotional needs. In a nutshell, when you feel you need other people that is when you need yourself the most.

You may have also noticed that if you struggle with loving yourself it seems other people lack the ability to love you the way you need them to as well. That is no coincidence. The truth is that you teach people how to treat you, and while they may have every intention to give you the best of themselves, if that is not what you require from yourself they will be at a loss. How can they safely give you something you will not even give to you? Think about it this way. If you were choosing a business to invest in, would you give your money to a business that the owner was not even confident in or excited about themselves? I would not suggest it; sounds like money going down the drain. The same logic goes into investing emotion and energy into people. When you are not valuing your own product, others lack the ability to value it too.

Now let’s say you are someone who knows all this already but still have those rough patches where it feels like you cannot make the meaningful connections you wish you could. In this case, you are in great company my friend, because the majority of women in the world “know” what they should do for themselves, but still do not do it. Call it a gender flaw if you so choose, but it is in a woman’s nature to make sure everyone else in their vicinity has what they need and then neglect their own wellbeing. I am here to encourage you to stop this and learn the difference between selfishness and self-preservation. Become conscious of your selfless gene and find appropriate times to put it on the back burner and treat yourself.

The trick to all of this is consistent reapplication of self-love. You do not just pay attention to yourself once and then tuck your wants, needs, and desires away on a shelf to look at instead of experience. You have to regularly work with you, providing your whole self with reminders that “I love me in a way no one else could.” The goal is to love yourself so much that the other people loving you have to step their game up! It sounds funny, I know, but this is information that only benefits you if it is actively used. It is very much like working out. Knowing you need to will not get you the fit body you promised yourself when the year began, but getting up and actually doing it will.

All I ask of you this month, this year, and this life is that you finally make yourself a priority. It’s about time, don’t you think?