When we think of the power of love we most often think of passion, happiness and all the pleasure that is possible. Yet we know we feel the power of love in the realest and most tangible way, when we are struggling through tough times. Taking the risk to love and seek love is more real in those times more than any other.

Love Conquers All is viewed as a cliché, a seemingly trite statement that is brought into the darkest of moments to bring a shred of light. When we contemplate the thought more deeply, we are able to see the truth of it.

When we speak of love what we are really speaking about is relationship. For love involves a heart. Yes, we say we love our homes, our passions, our belongings, yet actually we value them. We love people. We love other breathing entities that are full of life. Yes we love animals, because we are in relationship with them. There is an exchange of energy, and exchange of emotion…

In tough times it is hard to maintain relationships with our selves and others, hence a sense of love becomes elusive. The demands of trying times divert energy that is normally used to foster love, to solving problems, prioritizing resources and managing time. The tactical becomes more real and in turn our emotional needs are often the last priority, when in fact they should be the most important.

We focus out side of ourselves and allow our personal needs to be put to the side. The people around us are also in that same mode. It is easier to share a chore, cook a meal or give a ride, than to share, often times, painful feelings that go along with the hard times.

We look at the painful feelings as weakness, yet it is the honesty of these feelings that brings people closer together and strengthens the love between us.

Being able to share painful feelings requires a level of self love.

Self love you ask?? Yes, Being able to expose our vulnerabilities requires a level of self love that goes unrecognized as such. Being able to open your self up and allow yourself to be seen is an act of self love. It is an expression of the need to be loved. In all actuality, that expression can only come from self love.

How many times have we heard, “I do not love myself.” We have all said it. As a coach, I hear it from clients all the time. It is a strange thing. Yet here they are, investing in them selves and seeking support, this in it self is an act of self love as well.

Selflove is the most under valued version of love. We know all about “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We generally focus on the first half, forgetting that the first half is predicated on the skill of the second half.

The love of self becomes evident when we are able to reach out beyond our selves and seek the love and support of others. For without self love, we are often unable to see the value of going out of ourselves for what we need.

Worthiness comes into play as we begin to explore the concept of self-love and self respect. We look at our past experiences in order to gauge our worthiness. We naturally ask ourselves, “Did this person love us?” “Did that person support us?”, “Have I received what I deserved?” So many elements come into play as we look at our own worthiness, no less the worthiness of others.

In giving and receiving love, worthiness is a factor that we as humans have a hard time conceiving. Of course we say to ourselves, “Everyone is worthy of love!” Aren’t they??

Here is the challenge! How do we look at ourselves as worthy of love, and how do we see others as worthy of love. For healthy and balanced relationships to happen, our sense of self love MUST be in the mix! Our ability to ask for help, love, and acceptance is the beginning of love flowing to others. As we reach out to ask, we give others permission to give to us, as well as tell them we love them because we trust them enough to ask for it. Big thought!

Giving and receiving, in the right proportions is the cycle of love. Both people must love themselves enough to receive as well as to give.

The Dali Lama expresses it well, “When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness.”

Herein lies the opportunity: Love ourselves so we may love others…

Author's Bio: 

Florence Haridan, owner of Gathering Coaching Consultancy, is a certified coach, author and motivational speaker. Gathering runs a FREE monthly event BUSINESS VOICES to help professionals grow. She is in the process of Launching her book "Who's Helping Who?" in July 2010 with an interactive installation in Butterfield Too, one of the hottest Galleries in Saint Augustine, Florida.

Those who know Florence have considered her creative since the day she held a Crayola. Or should we say, the day she started melting them, chopping them up, mixing them. She never saw it as just a crayon — it was a way to express herself and her ideas.

From creating murals for plays in the neighborhood as a child, to developing an employee recognition program, to hosting a bi-monthly creativity dinner party, she brings imaginative types together to see what happens…usually great things! Florence personally enjoys the iterative process and is seen as highly collaborative. She brings this approach into every aspect of how she runs her business, her workshops and her life. These experiences have moved her to bring people together in new ways and is why gathering was born.

Florence knows a creative outlet is critical to growth, be it art, music, cooking, a garden. Each of us is fueled by the creative spirit whether or not we understand or recognize it. Florence’s goal is to nurture the creativity in all those around her.

Florence has led and supported branding, design, advertising and e-commerce initiatives for some of the largest companies in the world, including Citibank, The Home Depot, Sears, American Express, Fidelity, J&J and AT&T. Her experience ranges from product development and launch, to realignment and revitalization, all of which have helped Florence develop her big-picture vision. This is one of her greatest skills. She is able to step back and understand many levels and languages with varying degrees of complexity.

Florence has also successfully run small and large teams for companies such as McCann Direct, Grey Advertising, AT&T and Citibank. She has been an artist her entire life, managing and supporting teams of artists, designers, writers and photographers. She has a keen respect for the creative process and embraces the notion that each individual has a unique way of getting things done. Florence believes it is through this personal process that one achieves the greatest flow. Her work focuses on helping individuals articulate, accept and leverage.

While still at Citibank, Florence attended The Coaches Training Institute, a school accredited by the International Coaches Federation (ICF). She received her certification as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). Florence chose to complete the certification process, because she believes in and supports the philosophy that coaching is a profession. She believes the skills and personal exploration acquired by training, augments and supports life experience.

Florence served as the President of the First Coast Coaches Association (FCCA), the local chapter of ICF for two years and continues to support their mission. She manages a free monthly event called “Experience Coaching”, which allows individuals to learn about and experience coaching in a safe and energetic environment.