Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

As we dole out love to others on Valentine's Day, save some praise for yourself too.

Valentine's Day Hype

Here's what we all know. There is a ton of hype and commercialism around Valentine's Day. The media pressure is to feel loving, to be in a great relationship, and to buy stuff to prove it. If we are seduced by the idealized messages in the media and compare our lives to the ads, we are more likely to experience lack than love.

Valentine's Day High Road

Everyone and everything in our world can use more love right now. Expressing an extra dose of our heartfelt love to the many people who make our lives more special on Valentine's Day feels great and brings wonderful health benefits all around. Plus, the phenomenon of millions of people sharing loving wishes on the same day creates a collective love wave worth contributing to and riding! So have fun being loving; that's our true soulful nature.

The Person Often Left Out

Unfortunately, we often leave ourselves out of the love equation, and not just on Valentine's Day. This gives away our power to others-over whom we have no control. It puts us in a forever insecure position related to how we feel about ourselves. If we get what we want from others we feel good about ourselves. If we don't get what we want from them we feel lousy, unworthy and even unlovable. This kind of stress is optional.

Healthy Balance: Self-Love is Self-Full

Self-love is not about being selfish. People who are totally selfish have no room in their psyche for anyone but themselves. People who are selfless have room for everyone else, and none for themselves. Both of these are unhealthy, out-of-balance states of being.

The healthy state of balance is to become self-full, where loving and accepting who you are, with appreciation and compassion, actually expands your capacity to love others. With self-love as the foundation, external validation or invalidation do not make or break your self-worth. Loving yourself puts more fuel in your love tank. Why would you exclude yourself?

Three Ways to Get There

1. First notice and then purposely discontinue all forms of negative self-talk. Every time you say to yourself that you are stupid or crazy or flawed or an idiot, or too fat or too thin, or unlovable or unloved, your subconscious mind takes this in as truth. Over time, the mind creates a negative belief from your own input. Once you have a belief about yourself, the mind censors out anything which will disprove your belief. Ouch!

2. Purposefully replace negative "I am" statements with positive attributes about yourself. At the core, we are all pure awareness. Need a suggestion for a positive "I am" statement? Try on, "I am love, and I am loved." Try it on often and let yourself feel it.

3. When you know there is an underlying automatic pattern of negativity, which you cannot change by simply thinking about it or applying one of the many popular self-help modalities, then seek professional help. There is only self-empowerment in doing this. Working with a skilled therapist, combined with your commitment to do the work, can free you from old, unproductive patterns and beliefs. We are all capable of change when and if we want to do what it takes.

Valentine's Gift to Self

Start loving yourself as you are right now.

Loving yourself is a choice. You can experience a fully loving state of being and still have things to learn and foibles to improve. These are not mutually exclusive. Be aware that even when your ego judges you to be "too whatever" to be fully lovable, those thoughts are not determining factors to your inherent lovability.

Go For It

You might enjoy experimenting with choosing love, sharing love, embodying love and discover its positive, life-changing, happiness-increasing upgrade. Do it for yourself and for the world-on Valentine's Day-and every other day from now on.