Often, when we think of love, we think of it as an external thing, something we express out into the world. Something almost possessive. We say, "I love you," or "I love yoga," or "I love green juice." It's an easy thing to say; it's a much harder thing to do. Because real L-O-V-E (all caps) is something that starts with Y-O-U. We learn to love thy neighbor, but we forget about the "as you love thy self" part. Real love is accepting yourself first, even the parts you try to hide (especially the parts you try to hide). Real love is unconditional; it doesn't try to change, to push, to convince. Real love is welcoming, gentle, understanding. When we start treating our Selves this way, extending that softness and compassion to the rest of the world becomes easy; because when we learn to accept and love all the not-so-nice parts of our Selves, we see our Selves in each person we meet. I love myself. I see myself in you. And so, I love you. Do something today to embody your love for your Self. It's easy to put your own needs on the back burner this time of year, but that's even more of a reason to take a moment to give yourself a little love. Whether it's a bath, a massage, or just five deeps breaths in the bathroom away from guests or family or friends, take care of YOU first so you can give to others from the fullness of your heart.