By Anne Goldberg, contributor
Happy February to all you Savvy Seniors. This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, and the media bombards us with ads featuring people of every age, every walk of life, celebrating their love. We are encouraged to show those closest to us just how much we love them. For some, it’s a welcome call to action, for others, it’s a whole lot of pressure, and for others it can be depressing. How do you celebrate love when you’re alone?
Whether you are single or the love of your life is no longer with you, how do you successfully get through this day that seems dedicated to romance you don’t have?
What Is Love?
Love can be defined as feeling connected, attached and happy with someone. It is about treating others with the kind of respect they deserve because you see them through the lens of tenderness and compassion. We are taught to feel this for others, but how many of you feel it for yourself? How many of you are in love with yourself?
For me, self-love has been a journey that began six years ago when I read Anita Moorjani’s book, “Dying to Be Me.” In it, she describes her experience with stage four lymphoma. Her body was riddled with it and she was in a deep coma. During that time, she had a near-death experience from which she returned knowing that her cancer was gone. Sounds crazy right? The thing is, it was gone. She knew it, but none of the doctors believed her, so she allowed them to perform invasive and painful testing so they would be convinced, as she already was, that she was cancer-free.
She attributes her full and complete healing to this near-death experience that showed her that nothing is real except love and that suffering happens when we are disconnected from it.
Her most important take-away is that the most essential love is self-love, and that no one can truly deeply, honestly, authentically and unconditionally love another until we have those feelings for ourselves.
Reading her book shook my soul. Love myself the way I love others? That was a huge leap for me. Taking the time to nurture myself, have patience with myself and forgive myself for the ways in which I knew I fell short was not how I lived. And I was not the anomaly. There is a human tendency towards negative thinking that had me, and most humans, feeling somehow less than worthy or deficient in some way. We will demonstrate compassion for others, yet still hold onto self-doubt and self-criticism. And that, my dear friends, is not love.
My Own Journey
Over the past six years, I’ve learned that the love I give to others is tempered by the quality, amount and depth of love I hold for myself. And as I have become kinder and more loving towards myself, my relationships have deepened and blossomed. My overall mood is better and I find I have more patience for myself and others. Focusing on self-love has made me happier, more confident and less lonely.
Be a Savvy Senior. Make Valentine’s Day special by romancing and falling in love with yourself. Take time to recognize your gifts and talents. See yourself through the eyes of those who love you. Know that self-love heals at the deepest levels and loving yourself is a prescription for a happier, healthier you.
The Art of Village Living
Anne Goldberg is teaming up with Dr. Larry Siegel for an eight-week series titled “The Art of Village Living,” that began on January 13. Classes meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 1 p.m. in the Life Enrichment Center at The Woodlands.
Here is the remaining schedule and topics:
- Feb. 24: Why Humor & Laughter Are Good For You
- March 9: Sex After 60 For JKV
- March 23: Prescription Drugs, Helpful Or Harmful?
- April 13: Demystifying Anti-Aging Medicine
- April 27: Tell Your Story
All residents are invited to participate. Cost is $40 for the full eight-week series, or $10 for individual classes. Look for the tri-fold brochure in all the Village common areas. To sign up, email LErsvp@jkvfl.com, or visit the Village Centre Lobby. To learn more about the engaging and interesting events happing at John Knox Village, click here!
Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior, has a mission to help seniors know they are old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. Her vision is to create an army of senior volunteers bringing their wisdom and experience back to the community. She helps seniors live into their future with vitality by teaching them how to use computers; with conferences & workshops on The Art of Living Longer; with decluttering & organizing; and with “Tell Your Story Videos”, preserving the stories & wisdom of your life for future generations.