BIG love for Valentine's Day

25 things I love about you It all started out as a joke really; A way to get me to laugh at myself. But it quickly morphed into the single most commonly used technique in my home, with my family and in my coaching practice.

There was a time when I hated my situation. I regretted my choices to start a new job and I obsessed over every little thing I disliked about my boss. Then one day, I was reading the Success Principles by Jack Canfield and I came upon the section “you get what you focus on”. I immediately started thinking about all the stupid people in my life who I now realized were all focusing on the wrong stuff which is clearly why they sucked so badly!

I put down the book and picked up my gratitude journal. Preparing to write the 10 things I was grateful for that day, it hit me.  I was the one who sucked!  Truly, was I not the one with the negative focus?  Was I not the one who was drawing to me all that negative energy which I was so convinced belonged to everyone else?  My negative thoughts weren’t making them more negative, but my thoughts were keeping them drawn to me... So that night instead of writing the 10 things I was most grateful for, I started to write 10 things I admired or liked about someone who had really bugged me that day.  But when I got to #10, the funniest thing happened;  I kept writing!  Each new thing I wrote made me think of one better thing, then another, and another. When I finally felt “empty” and could think of no more, I had 27 things on my page!  But the other thing I had was the warmest, most peaceful sense of calm and empathy for this person who was driving me crazy not 30 minutes ago!

Another thing I noticed was that many of the qualities I had written about this person were things I was proud of about myself…this revelation gave me a connection to my sucky friend that I hadn’t allowed myself to feel before. It kind of became my own little inside joke that I could pull from every time I started to feel angry or resentful toward them.

This list of 25 has become a tremendous tool with my boys and my husband as well and I have suggested using it in coaching and family counseling with tweens and teens.

Every time I hear someone complaining incessantly about someone else…I ask them to make a list of 25 things they like about that person and carry it with them.  I tell them to "read it anytime you feel like you can’t get past your own hurdles and eventually, you will start to notice that person living up to the greatness you have labeled them with."

An activity to do either with or for someone you love is to make a treasure chest of “25 things I love about you.” Imagine your naturally angry 13 year old waking up each day and lifting the lid of their treasure chest…they pull out a random slip of paper and open it. On the paper is written “I love to hear your voice on the answering machine.” It sounds ridiculous, but it’s just one of the many things you love about your child…and to them, that means the world…and it MAY just inspire them to call home and leave you messages more often :o)

So today, have each person in your family make a list of 25 things they love about their family members. You can share them (this is the BEST thing.) or keep them to yourself as your own little “inside joke”…but regardless of what you do with them, just having written them down will bring more of that which you love into your life…and isn’t that what it’s all about?


Make it a playful day!