February 14, 2017 Liza Swedarsky, MD FacebookTwitterPinterest Honoring Health Vow #6 I Vow to Advocate for Myself and Pledge to Prioritize my Healthcare Needs On this Valentine’s Day I find myself pondering the question... “What is Love?” I’ve crafted my own definitions through life experiences, family dynamics, chance encounters, friendships, parenting and remembering lessons learned from deep intimate relationships. I’ve searched for definitions throughout my life to ponder. I’ve admired text from the Bible and quotes from Masters such as Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Khalil Gibran, and Buddha to name a few. But the conclusion I have come to is this: There is no greater Love one can have besides Self Love. It all resonates from self first. Of all the definitions I’ve honored, Ernest Holmes wrote one of my favorites. I recently took a Self Mastery class and frantically searched a New Thought Dictionary one night looking up the word “Love” when I found myself questioning how it was showing up in my life. Parts of the definition were as follows: -The outpouring of Spirit. The givingness of Life. It is the great transforming Power, which brings everything into harmony. It is the unifying Principle, the creative element, the motivating Power of all that is fine and noble in life…it is the healing force. The origins of Valentine’s Day can be debated, but many of the theories and historical explanations can be related back to this definition. On this Valentine’s Day ask yourself “What am I giving my energy to? How am I directing my Spirit? Am I loving myself first? Am I giving myself what I need and filling my cup with love and light so I will have the energy to serve others around me? Am I healthy? How can I live a healthier life?” Make time for that fitness class today. Eat a meaningful lunch. Schedule that Doctor or Dentist appointment you’ve been putting off. Schedule the mammogram that is two years overdue. Call your Gastroenterologist and have your colonoscopy screening. See your Gynecologist to discuss that issue that’s been bothering you. Love Yourself today too! Love Yourself today first! Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for someone to buy you chocolates. My Best Friend knows all to well, I am quick to order my favorite box of chocolates and have them delivered to my door usually around Christmas. If you feel guilty about indulging for a day, buy yourself the smaller box. Like you, I love giving and serving. I am a cheerful giver. But there was a time in my life when I realized I have to prioritize my needs so that I can be a better friend, sister, mother, wife and doctor. Your energy level will be your gauge. There are mornings I have to prioritize eating breakfast or making a smoothie to nourish my body so that I can get through my workday seamlessly. There are days when I choose to go to sleep earlier to rejuvenate. There are mornings that I have to choose a little less sleep to attend that 6 am or 7 am Yoga class that will allow me relax and renew before I get the kids off to school. It’s not a perfect storm, but I remind myself on a regular basis that self-advocacy is important. Maya Angelou often reminded us of the old African Proverb that cautioned, “Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” Love yourself today and be grateful for all you are and all you have. And then imagine all the more you will have to offer others.