Underneath the layers of heart-shaped chocolate boxes, there is something pure and wonderful.  The spirit of Valentine’s Day.  That all amazing, all powerful, abstract yet very real thing called LOVE.

Love’s not perfect.  It makes mistakes.  It asks for forgiveness.  It’s pure and it’s complicated.  It’s sloppy and beautiful.  It inspires us or at times holds us hostage.  It can make us want to jump for joy or punch a wall.  Love is crazy.  Love never stops trying.  Love is all you need.

Love is ALL of the above.  And of course, in all of it’s fabulous complications, love is just another word for family? Or even parenthood?

To kick it off this season of love, I thought I’d share some of the part aspirational and part gut-check, little love mantras I find myself repeating as I coach myself through parenting and surviving the day to day.   They’re not perfect and probably not all that original nor groundbreaking.  But here you go!

Love is A Strategy.  You may have heard this here before but this is hands down my all time favorite self-coined expression for handling everything from business to life.  Love Is a Strategy.  Treating people with kindness whether employees, colleagues, bosses, clients, customers or what have you, makes a BIG difference.  Easy in theory, not always in actuality, but always worth remembering and repeating.

Love Yourself.  Most people (self included) are pretty tough on themselves.  I try to remind myself that life’s not about holding yourself to some standard of perfection, but rather a standard of grace.  I can’t help but admire those who seem to have mastered this balance as they ride the waves of the ups and downs of life.  Can I take a surf lesson from you oh graceful people!

Be a Loving Person AND A Tough Person.  My dad used to tell me as a kid that the most important thing in life is to be a good person.  That simple but big picture message of being good/kind always really resonated with me.  It grounded me growing up and as an adult gives me a little perspective on all the other “junk.”  Part 2…  TOUGH.  As a mom in an increasingly complex world, where well, people aren’t always all that nice, part 2 of this message with my own children is that it’s important at times to be tough.   What I mean by tough is that ability to bounce back, persevere, stand ones ground and be resilient.  Life requires a little grit mixed in with the kindness.

Love Can Not Be Seen nor Touched, But Felt with the Heart.   “You know that we are living in a material world…”  Sorry, grew up in the 80’s.  There is a real challenge that I’m only beginning to understand that comes with nurturing kids to grow-up as driven people who understand that happiness comes from much more than material success.  Translation: my hope for my kids is that when they hear the song All You Need Is Love that they understand what those sweet lyrics mean.  And that by the time my kids are grown, the world has realized the importance of the word “balance.”  Wouldn’t that be lovely? Sigh.

Love Means Listening. Really Listening.   Sometimes “noise” is coming in from all angles, even in my own head, and I find myself not REALLY listening.  I try to coach myself: Pause. Clear the noise. Listen.  And when I’m not, I think it’s okay to take a “do-over,” and try again.  If life followed “Love Rules” I think there would be more do-overs in general. Right?

Give Great Valentines Cards.  What makes you feel better than a note or card that truly tells you that someone gets you and appreciates you?  For me — NOTHING!  Take the time to write a heartfelt note that goes beyond the pre-printed hallmark sentiment for the special people in your life of all ages. Teach your kids the fine art of expression by sitting down and making Valentines together.

Say I Love You.  We say a lot of I Love You’s around here.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics it’s one of the most important things you can do for your kids.  PHEW… I’m doing one thing right… Makes me feel a little teeny bit better about my daughters TOTAL obsession with Minnie Mouse.  Yes I broke the no TV until you are two rule with my second child…  Eek. True confessions.  But I couldn’t love my kiddos more.  And LOVE, not perfection, is all you need.



P.S.  One last loving idea (a little plug here -can’t resist)… a box of our SmartCookies is a great healthy alternative to a box of chocolates for your own little sweethearts!




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