What is Love?

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, February 16, 2022
By Katheryne Puentes, LMHC.

Love doesn’t start with loving others before us. It begins with loving ourselves first, to know how to love another. We create a strong foundation by loving ourselves, and anyone else we love is a bonus to that foundation. Loving ourselves teaches us what fuels us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally each day. It helps us grow as a person. Once we build that strong base, we create healthy relationships because we know where we stand. When I think of self-love, I notice a generational trend, within society, on how hard it is to love oneself. Reflecting on ourselves can be complex and challenging because of the idea that society will not accept us if we show who we are. The generational transmission we see also occurs within our family systems. There is a generational projection process happening, and it continues because we continue the same patterns. Some songs and movies express the fears of allowing someone to see us without our masks. Or the fear of accepting that love from another.

seashell on sand
In Christina Aguilera’s reflection song, it says, “Why must we conceal what we think and how we feel?” and “When will my reflection show Who I am inside?”. This song was in the movie Mulan. The film and song have a lot of meaning behind how someone might feel because they have to hide. Even though Mulan intentionally hid to help her family. Throughout the movie, there are still metaphors showing her views about how she hid from society and her family. Trying to hide who we are, takes so much time and energy.  The more we try to hide, the more we feel bad about ourselves, and the more feelings of unworthiness we create.

It’s time to show who you are because you are unique and have so much to offer in your personal life and relationships. Save yourself the heartbreak of creating a false relationship or an illusion of what a healthy relationship is. Hiding attracts individuals who might not have the same values, boundaries, or intentions that you do.

Let’s start with some self-love tips. Different ways to fuel self-love within, each day:

Physical Growth:

  • Exercise, increase your heart rate
  • Do a yoga class
  • Meditation
  • Go for a walk
  • 5-minute morning stretch
  • 10 Pushups a day

Mental Growth:

  • Reading
  • Wordsearch Puzzles
  • Escape room puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Grounding techniques
  • Learn something new

Spiritual Growth:

  • Connect with your religious community
  • Volunteer within your community
  • Focus on your patterns to build an understanding of yourself
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Focusing on yourself and where you are in life instead of comparing your journey to another individual’s journey
  • Focus on approaches, to be honest, truthful, and respectful

Emotional Growth:

  • Practice gratitude
  • Journal your thoughts/feelings
  • Check-in on yourself multiple times a day
  • Celebrate your achievements, success, obstacles, and challenges
  • Allow yourself to be present with where you are on your journey
  • Use Positive affirmations

These are just some tips, but there are hundreds more to help your self-growth within each category. Today is the day to start exploring, accepting your interests, and growing as an individual. I believe in you.


“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” – Anna Taylor HEART