My favorite Disney movies were Snow White and Sleeping Beauty when they found their handsome princes and lived happily ever after. Hey, Walt, you really set me up for expecting that storybook love. You may have missed a chapter or two on the most powerful love ever.

If you would have asked Little Debbie what I love the most I’m sure it would have been my horse, dogs and cats. Sorry Mom and Dad. While I loved the plentiful hugs we shared my animal friends would still win the prize for the sweetest easiest love ever.

Teenage and adult Debbie found that falling in love wasn’t anything like the Disney version. I kept looking for an everlasting love and didn’t find it. The noisy negatives started up.

What is wrong with me? What is getting in my way?

Have you heard of the Mad Hatter Disease? Hat-making in the 1800s used mercurous nitrate to cure felt to form the hats. The hatters would spend long hours being exposed to mercury vapors which ultimately caused mercury poisoning. Just two of the multiple symptoms hatters experienced were mental confusion and emotional disturbance. Their emotional imbalances would become so extreme that some were known to jump out of 2nd and 3rd story windows. The hat company’s solution was to place metal bars on the windows to keep the hatters from jumping.

Remember how I was looking for everlasting love and didn’t find it? In 2004, something was revealed to me that shocked me. It was one of those Universal gifts that show up on our doorstep. If I knew what was coming I would have never voluntarily opened it.

I was diagnosed with mercury poisoning. The mercury had cross my blood brain barrier and entered my brain. There was a horrible emotional ruckus. The volume of my self-hatred maxed out. Prior to that moment I had no clue I had such an ugly toxic opinion of myself. Quite the opposite I was going for the academy award for acting happy. Luckily my consciousness and ownership of that ugly hatred gave me the power to do something about it.

I began by physically detoxing the mercury and other heavy metals from my body. What was the highest priority after that? Falling madly in love with myself. The intense hatred would overpower even the smallest of likes for myself initially. The mercury was amplifying that hatred many times over. The hatred for myself caused me to show up subservient in my relationship. I had no idea how to say “No” to others and I never gave myself what I wanted or needed.

Isn’t it interesting how Valentine’s Day is one day each year where grandiose actions to profess romantic love for another shows up. What about the other 364 days? Love for self is installed within your soul already so why can we not feel it? What gets in the way are the stories we make up about ourselves and others.

What is the most powerful love? The most powerful love you can possibly experience is loving yourself. Self-love is the foundation for romantic love, family love, loving your neighbor or loving your life. You literally cannot access other love without loving yourself first.

Today, I still love my animals. They still get the biggest prize for the easiest sweetest love ever. What’s different for me? Love creates a magical day! I begin my day with the intention of love for myself and others. People and experiences pop up all around me that reflect that love.