By Monica Vest Wheeler
Valentine's Day is that time when retailers go a little crazy catering to the needs of crazy people in love … in search of the perfect gift … to candy or not … to flower or not … to ring or not …
Whether it's my life experience or the gazillion folks I've interacted with, I've decided that the most sincere form of love for someone else is loving yourself first …
And caring for yourself enough so you'll be there for those who love you.
I've witnessed so many people not take care of their own health or care enough to take basic steps to curb, handle or reverse conditions that can be managed. I've heard every reason and excuse in the world. I've offered a few colorful ones myself …
In 2001, I faced the ultimate self-truth: treat this depression or let it all go.
I like to think I gave my family and friends the best Valentine's Day gift ever that year when I decided to start taking medication and get some therapy to treat myself with the ultimate self-respect I was long overdue …
And give them the real gift of ME that had been haphazardly wrapped for a long time.
Is it laziness that keeps us from taking care of ourselves when we need to? Is it avoidance? Is it living a lie?
I've decided that we can easily feed ourselves a lot of tall tales about who we are and who we can be. Fiction is easier to manipulate than non-fiction, and that's why we keep telling stories featuring the three major culprit characters: Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.
If you're still searching for the perfect Valentine's Day gift for a loved one, look in the mirror.
Open your eyes to what you may be hiding under the surface.
Open your heart to all the potential of life, YOUR life.
Open your soul to fulfilling the purpose of YOUR life.
And remember, you don't need a holiday on the calendar to give yourself.