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Valentine's Day: A time for reflection

As the New Year feel of January wears off and February brings us Valentine's Day, it is a time to reflect on how we think about love and its role in our lives. I spoke to a group of high school students this past weekend and the goal was to encourage them to follow their dreams. I believe that we will be able to make the most impactful contributions to ourselves and our world through positive and supportive affirmations. Here are my five points for loving life, your skin and body, and others.

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1. Love yourself.

Without self-love it is difficult to feel and act as if you deserve the best in life. This affects your actions, who you surround yourself with, and your willingness to work hard. Interestingly, a quote from the New international Bible Version in Galatians 5:14 reads, "...Love your neighbor as yourself." Even this concept indirectly implies that it is first a prerequisite to love yourself before you can love others.

2. Accept that you are responsible for your own life and that no one else will help you do anything without you first doing your part.

This is paraphrased from entrepreneur Tony Robbins. While we cannot control the outside world, Robbins says, we can accept responsibility for everything we think, feel, say, and believe.While it sounds bleak, that accountability translates to freedom and ability to live a happier life by realizing that all you have to control is yourself.

3. Have confidence.

Our inner thoughts determine who we are and how we perceive others are. Life coach Brian Tracey calls confidence an inner work that determines success. Loving yourself fuels confidence and gives you the courage to take risks to better your life. The more confident you are, the more risks you are willing to take, and the more you will accomplish.

4. Have clear goals.

Inspired by life coach Brian Tracey, setting goals is important for anyone trying to contribute anything to the world. You don't know where you are going if you don't have a destination and having goals helps us head in the right direction.

5. Take action.

If confidence is the inner work we do, action is the outer work we do. Action truly does speak louder than words and is how we demonstrate to the world our talents and skills. It is not enough to have confidence and goals if you will not take the action to realize the outcome and turn vision into reality.

Margareth Pierre-Louis