Friendship and relationship advice,  Holidays,  Love & Valentine's Day

The heart of the matter

“When you love someone, you love the whole person as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.” ~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Most of us idealized love when we were young. If we were raised on fairy tales, for instance, we imagined marrying the perfect partner and living happily ever after. At the same time, we also held our friends and family members to impossibly high standards, and were disappointed when they didn’t behave like the best friends or families portrayed on TV sitcoms.

As we mature, we discover that real love isn’t always picture-perfect; sometimes it gets as messy or as complicated as real life. Real love is earned in the trenches of shared experience — all kinds of experience. To expand on Tolstoy’s quote, real love means loving and celebrating our partners, family members, and friends as they are — and hoping that we are loved and celebrated that way, too.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all … I hope you find lots of love (and chocolate) in your day! ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.


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