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Love, Laughter, and the Power of Self

By, Beverly Tavares


LOVE 

I’ve never had a problem with loving others. I remember times when my love for another person was so overwhelming, it felt as though my heart would burst. The type of love I wish to focus on here, though, is a different one. It is a much more complicated emotion to get a handle on. Often times I find myself to be stingy with it; not giving it freely or withholding it as a form of punishment. I am referring to self love. Self-love is not to be confused with a narcissistic personality. When I say “self-love,” I mean treating yourself as you would someone you love with all your heart and soul.


Some people treat love as though it is finite. They may believe that once they have given their love to others, there is not enough left to give themselves, and it would be selfish to do so. That is not true. Love is not finite. There is no risk of depletion, and it’s always available. It does not divide, it multiplies. Loving ourselves is a simple thing to do, but we need to be willing to do it, and be able to do it without guilt. It simply means taking it easy on ourselves. Forgiving ourselves, being kinder to ourselves, and making good choices regarding ourselves is all it takes. This can be difficult for some people, as it was for me, but like all things, we get better at it with time and practice. Let me repeat that – – we get better at it with TIME and PRACTICE.


LAUGHTER 

Mark Twain once said, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”


2022 was a rough year for me. At the age of 64, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two surgeries, radiation, and then I developed diverticulitis! IKR! I started to spiral. Depression was enveloping me like a shadow come to life, poking and clawing at me. During this time, I learned a few things that I wish to share. Laughter is actually an amazing weapon to have. Science has proven that it increases white blood cell activity. Laughter can reduce stress, improve alertness, and help immunity. According to research, laughing can boost your body’s immune system for three whole days! It releases endorphins in the brain, which are feel good chemicals that help us deal with life’s complications. 


I consider myself fortunate to be married to a funny man, because life does not always present itself in an amusing way. Just know that you do your body good by seeking out what is funny and having a good laugh. Surround yourself with positive people who possess a sense of humor. Watch funny videos, listen to a favorite standup comic – – whatever works for you. Laughter is a gift you give yourself, and should be part of your self love regiment. Whatever your age or circumstance, try to make play dates with others who like to laugh, and start doing your body and mind a favor – – it’ll thank you in the long run.


THE POWER OF SELF 

You may not consider yourself to be powerful, but you are. That is because you have the arsenal within your mind to be.  I am referring to the power of your thoughts. 

If you take a picture of something, then print it out, you will not get a different photograph from the one you took. In other words, if you take a selfie with friends at a gathering, you will print out that very scene. I have discovered that the mind is like a camera and our thoughts are like photographs. The thoughts we conjure in our minds have a tendency to “develop” and manifest in our lives. Often times we cannot control the thoughts that enter our minds, but we can control how we deal with them. We can choose to take charge of our thoughts and change them from negative to positive. It’s also important to bear in mind that thoughts are connected to words. Like weapons, words wield enormous power. The words we say to ourselves and the words we say to others can result in thoughts of positivity or negativity. Everything we do, all of our actions; anything we create or plan to bring to fruition begins with a thought. What are thoughts but words in our head. Both creative and destructive actions and behavior begin with a single thought.


I compare thoughts to seeds. If they are planted and cultivated, they will grow and become sturdy. Sometimes the thoughts are our own, and sometimes they are planted by others. Also, like seeds, there are many varieties; fear, hope, anger, joy, love, hate, attraction, repulsion, confidence, anxiety, strength, weakness,…the list goes on! Remember, it takes one thought, which becomes one intention, then turns into an action. These actions can be helpful and positive and make life better for you/others, or they can be the opposite and have negative results for you/others. We all have first-hand experience with feelings associated with what others have said or done that affected us either positively or negatively. We have also had that kind of affect on others. This is also true regarding giving ourselves self love.  It is important to have a continuous positive inner dialogue. For example, “I can do this. I am strong. I am capable. I am loved”. This type of inner dialogue has positive effects on our psyches and our bodies. Conversely, we can do damage to ourselves mentally and physically by continually harboring negative thoughts, participating in negative inner dialogue, and ultimately following through with negative actions.


Begin to cultivate thoughts of peace, happiness, confidence, security, and prosperity. Plant these thoughts as you would seeds in a garden, and you can reap a positive harvest. Also, when good things happen to you, be aware of these little blessings, and give thanks for them. Awareness of the good in our lives brings about inner happiness. Along the way, remember to be kind to yourself, and to forgive your shortcomings. Keep practicing. 

I wish you harmony, health, peace, love and goodwill.



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