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Don't forget to love yourself this Valentine's Day

I am founder of The Skinless Project Company - an online global platform to empower women. I am also a mom, wife, triathlete, mediator, attorney, entrepreneur and lover of life !

Today is Valentine's Day! A day of chocolates, flowers, kisses, hugs, I am sorry, I love you, I need you, I am crazy about you, I appreciate you!

Love: "An intense feeling of deep affection"

Today is when restaurant reservation waiting lists are long and babysitters are called. It always amazes me that even in our busy life with work meetings and family obligations we as a people take the time to stop love and live. Nothing warms the heart more than a love that is reassured.

I really want to change our focus a bit on Valentine's Day

You see, this year has been a great year for me! This year I learned about being brave in my personal life, professional life, I took risks, had difficult conversations, made some personal goals and am going towards them everyday. I made a commitment in 2014 to make my relationships stronger, more honest and value the ones I love even more.

So, this Valentine's Day I want to take the time to love myself, nurture myself and thank myself, for nothing also warms the heart than a self-assured love for yourself.

Not sure if everyone will be getting gifts this season of love, so I want to encourage all of you to take the day for yourself with me and get to the real heart of the word love. Trust me, I enjoy chocolates and flowers but I also know that these things do not translate into "an intense feeling of deep affection." The love you feel when you have your child, or the thumping of your heart when you pray for your loved one to get well, the butterflies in your stomach when your love is returning home from a long trip... these are all manifestations of love one feels for your beloved. What about the person whom has been with you the longest? Do they get to feel that appreciation too?

Let's face it. In the journey of love search, we are looking for that one person who says "you complete me" and that one person that ideally "completes you."

But here is reality, and in my observations of the ups and downs of life an undeniable truth. One human cannot complete the other. Honestly we are already a perfect package. We are accompanied with emotions, intellect, all the tools to have joy, inspiration and focus. The journey is finding all those tools within us and making them work. Nobody knows you or can learn about you fully other than yourself. Remember all the times you were nervous about a new job, new project or new relationship? Who calmed your heart and talked you through it, spilling over with positive thoughts to help you face your fears?

And in the journey of love search we are also looking for someone to make us happy.

But here is another reality; life throws curve balls. Yes, there are moments in which you just cannot be happy, simply because that is not the emotion called for in certain situations. This is not a bad thing, for those not-so-pleasant emotions are necessary for our growth. No person will come and replace that emotion with "happy." But you will find the inner strength to strategize, plan and face pain. You probably already have opened the doors to joy so many times when you could have chosen fear.

And, of course we not only look for someone to not only complete us, make us happy but also to make us feel safe.

Another reality, and unfortunately one of the hardest lessons one has to learn. Would you not agree that no human can protect another completely? Yes, curve balls again. There are situations that will come your way in which only your resolve will help you; safety is not guaranteed by your relationship with your beloved.

In my mediation practice, I have had the honor to meet women who have sometimes been betrayed by their lovers or husbands. Through the painful discussions and self discovery of these mediation sessions the result is always the same: People realize that they shortchanged themselves when they convinced themselves that others loved them. But they also realize they shortchanged themselves by not valuing their heart. If you believe and know that you do love yourself, you will never allow your heart to be shortchanged. It's a good organ, pumping blood, beating for others and facing the unbearable; thank it sometimes.

The truth is the most important person you can love, the person who can most protect you by caring for your health and life choices, the person that can make you the most happy by always having a limitless source of happy when required, the person who can complete you because he or she is so dedicated to your growth, your victories is you.

You see, no matter what, in the end it's just your heart and you. People will come and go, some by choice and some not. If you are able to lean on your own heart for growth and strength, its love is limitless. After all, we all want to give love. We cannot if we do not nurture the source first. I am lucky to have a husband I love. But I know I could not love him the way I do unless I love myself.

This Valentine's Day I am also celebrating

  • my heart
  • my working body
  • my resolve
  • my dedication
  • my courage

You have to believe me. Come what may, people may hurt you through their words and actions, but you will be all right.

My daughter, who is 4, came home this week saying that a boy in the hallway called her "The ugliest girl he has ever seen." She really did not know what it meant, and perhaps the other kid did not either. Apparently she was clowning around and the boy did not know how to respond so he chose the word ugly.

Tempted to say a lot of things to protect her heart, I paused.

I simply told her that many people sometimes say things that are mean. This is not the first, and probably not the last. She just laughed and ran off.

Later she handed me a Valentine's Day card she made for me and her father. I embraced her. Then she showed me a third card, a Valentine's Day for herself. In which she wrote her own name and her own message: "I love you."

I realized at that moment... our hearts love us so naturally. I believe it comes from a undeniable source of our higher power, God given. This voice I feel has been the whispers in my heart all my life. So If I recognize myself I will recognize the source. Somehow we forget the sense and value of ourselves as we grow and let others define our worth either by their kindness or cruelty.

I carried her in my arms and kissed her so she knew how proud I was of her, but honestly I think she knew how proud she already was of herself, and this is all I hope she ever needs to know.

Image: Todor Tsvetkov/Getty Images
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