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It’s time to put you first! Although Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, we’re often left off our to-do list to celebrate ourselves. Instead of solely pouring your love and devotion into your family, friends, and partners this year, especially when your relationships are unhealthy try showering yourself with grace, kindness, understanding, and deep affection.

My lessons about Narcisism

A few years ago, I had no idea that the man I was in a relationship with would turn out to be a toxic narcissist. Back then, I was attracted to his charm, confidence, and how he seemed to have it all figured out. 

In hindsight, there were signs. His subtle put-downs masked as jokes, his constant need for validation, and his lack of empathy when I was going through a tough time. But love, or what I thought was love, had a funny way of pushing these warning signals to the back of my mind.

Over time, this toxic relationship took a toll on my self-esteem. I started second-guessing my decisions, my opinions, and even my worth as an individual. I became a shadow of the lively, confident woman I used to be. 

Learning about real love

The journey to self-love wasn’t easy or quick. It took me about 14 months to fully embrace the importance of loving myself‌.And it took me help from now husband, family and my dear friend and Founder of TAR Network Dr. Jamie to believe in myself.  The process of healing and rediscovering myself has been challenging but rewarding.

Through this journey, I realized that self-love isn’t just about feeling good about yourself. It’s about respecting your own needs and standing up for your own happiness.This is essentially what I wish to encourage everyone to do this February. The key point is this: loving yourself is not selfish; it’s necessary. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for choosing your happiness over a toxic relationship.

Breaking free from a toxic narcissist is tough, but with self-love and determination, it’s absolutely possible. You deserve to be happy, respected, and loved unconditionally — and that starts with loving yourself. I still struggle sometimes but I had built a strong foundation around me who is always here to provide me with support when in need. 

TAR Network and our weekly online meetings are here to provide you with a safe place and support whenever you need it and help you stand on your feet, straight and strong, looking in the mirror and admiring the person who is staring back at you- the amazing, lovely YOU!

A different perspective on Valentine’s Day

This holiday can seem superficial, with its focus on teddy bears, chocolates, and candle-lit dinners, but perhaps there is something deeper to learn from this celebration of love.

What better opportunity is there to inspire a deeper, self-loving relationship? Instead of looking outward at the candy aisle, the pre-fixed menus, and falling into the comparison trap on Instagram let’s consider this as an opportunity to look inward and foster true self-love. 

Remember, you are already complete, relationships are just complementary.  

The longest relationship that anyone has is with themselves, so why isn’t there a holiday to celebrate self-love?

Start with acceptance

Self-love can be difficult, especially in this social media-focused world that enables constant comparison. Acceptance is the first step towards self-love. Start with neutrality, the acknowledgment of what is. Perhaps things aren’t “ideal” or “perfect” but acknowledge that as okay. Appreciate the legs for walking, the eyes for seeing, and the heart for loving. Acknowledge that life will ebb and flow; that nothing lasts forever, and try to allow things to be as they are, be open, and accept.

Be present

Being in the here and now is always important, especially in developing a relationship. Just as it’s important to listen to others, it’s equally important to create space to listen to one’s own inner thoughts and feelings. Listen for your dreams, desires, and wishes. Pro-tip: a great way to do this can be through journaling!

Purposely choose to have a relationship with yourself

This might seem silly, but it’s about the intention. This requires an active decision to choose to have a relationship with yourself. Spend time alone and create space for self-discovery. The simple decision to have this type of relationship can be liberating‌.

Self-love is not selfish; it’s actually the opposite

One might even argue that the best Valentine’s gift anyone can give to their loved ones is self-love because it helps other relationships flourish as well. Flight attendants might be onto something when they say that everyone needs to put their own oxygen mask on before helping others. Self-love allows people to be their best selves, and as a result show up for their jobs, relationships, and families at their fullest potential.

This is why TAR Network encourages you to practice self-love this month and focus on your wellbeing. The first toxic relationship we tend to have is with ourselves – it’s time to change that!



Image by congerdesign on pixabay


TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.

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