The First Rule of Engagement

by Sylvia Ford-George

Love can be found in any season, although people seem more open and receptive to it in spring and summer when the weather is inviting, flowers are blooming, life is more relaxed, and we’re inclined to have more fun. As you prepare for the possibility—or building-up—of a relationship, don’t forget the primary rule of engagement…above all else, love yourself first. Because, if you can’t find a way to love and care for you—the one you’re with 24/7—how can you find a way to love someone else? And while mathematically two halves make a whole, when it comes to relationships, two halves equate to two people in need.

I recently read the following statement:  How much you love yourself and invest in your own life is how much you’ll be truly emotionally available to love another. Don’t look to be someone’s better half, but your own full person, building a richer life with another full person. Create a healthy relationship with your body, your mind and your soul, and choose someone who’s creating a healthy relationship with her or himself. That’s ingredient number one for a healthy relationship with each other.


No credit was given to the writer, but the sentiments bear repeating to ourselves on a daily basis as we strive to be better today than we were in all of our yesterdays, and as we work to create better, more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

Iyanla Vanzant once wrote: Loving you means holding yourself with unconditional positive regard. It means giving yourself the time and space to make poor choices and bad decisions, knowing that you are learning and growing through it all. Loving you means consciously and consistently engaging in behaviors and activities that are self-supportive, self-affirming and self-honoring. It also means when you forget or resist opportunities to honor you, instead of beating yourself up, you look for and embrace the lessons you’ve learned.


Relationships have their purpose and help us grow in many different ways. However, like the instructions you get on an airplane regarding oxygen masks, you have to fit your own mask securely first, before attempting to engage someone else.


When you love on you, when you trust you, when you honor you, you set the standard for how others will love you. – Iyanla Vanzant