The Greatest Love Of All (it really is yourself – Whitney and Dolly had it right)

Oh Whitney.  How sad I was yesterday watching a block of Whitney Houston videos on VH1 (Videos on Vh1? I know, right)? I realized, standing in my kitchen holding a wet dishcloth and a half dried mug, that I had grown up to her music. I had bopped my head to “How Will I Know,” and cried my eyes out to “Where do Broken Hearts Go.”  But even if you thought it was cheesy, the most important message in any of Whitney’s songs was the one she shared in “The Greatest Love of All.” You’ve got to love yourself, first and foremost. Which is sometimes easier said than done.

I was washing dishes at the behest of Marla Ciley, AKA FlyLady, who has an online community that shares tips and a whole system for cleaning, organizing and clearing clutter out of your house.  Now I don’t know about you, but I find it even harder to feel good about myself when my house is a wreck.  And when it’s a wreck, it can be so overwhelming, I feel even worse! Wow, talk about a self perpetuating cycle.  FlyLady’s pep talk emails and essays pull you through all that if you take it all to heart.  Again, it’s kind of like Whitney- you have to overlook a little cheese here and there to really appreciate the message.  And so I decided to excerpt Marla/FlyLady’s essay about loving yourself here, in honor of Whitney.
Dear Friends,

This weekend we have been mourning the loss of Whitney Houston. As I have spent all day listening to her music one song says so much to me; The Greatest Love of All! We will always love her voice and how we feel when we hear her sing. There is a line in this song that touches my heart; Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all. Finally Loving Yourself is this gift!

Whitney Houston~The Greatest Hits
Whitney Houston~The Greatest Hits

How do you learn to love yourself? What is Love anyway? To us it may be something that we have never had. Several years ago when I was in an abusive relationship; all I wanted was to feel loved. It didn’t matter if I was loved; I just wanted to feel like I was. What I finally came to realize was I was never going to feel this way by his actions. I needed to find other ways to feel loved.

I started to meditate and in order to stay focused on my breathing I would repeat with each breath in “I LOVE” and the breath out “MYSELF”! Even though I didn’t believe it yet; I still did it! I would meditate 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. This became a way for me to slow my brain down; after a while the words that I said to myself began to manifest themselves into actions.

When something would not feel right; I would ask myself if doing that was loving myself. Now I have taken those simple words and turned them into my mission statement for my life. To find joy in everything I do.

This is one of the greatest gifts I ever gave myself. It keeps me from perpetuating the abuse by showing me that I am loved. Love is an action word. It is the result of some little deed that makes us feel good or special. I want you to take a few minutes right now and write down a list of things that you can do for yourself to put into action the word love.

Take that seriously folks – take a minute out of your day and jot down 5 things you can do to love yourself. Because, to quote another  fabulous role model of mine, RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Amen to that, Ru. Amen to that.

Be well, and love well.


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