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Maria’s Sunday Paper: What Makes You Feel Loved?

by | Feb 11, 2018 | I've Been Thinking, The Sunday Paper

Maria’s Sunday Paper: What Makes You Feel Loved?

by | Feb 11, 2018 | I've Been Thinking, The Sunday Paper

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been mesmerized by love stories. Love stories in books. (Hello, “Wuthering Heights.”) Love stories on the big screen. (“The Sound of Music,” “Notting Hill,” “Love Actually”… I won’t tell you how many times I’ve watched these films again and again.) Love stories in the news. (I read the New York Times’ Modern Love column religiously each Sunday.) Yes, I love love stories. I’ve even been known to burst into tears when an elderly couple tells me their love story. Stories like these inspire me. They give me hope. They bring me joy. Many years ago, a friend asked me, “Maria, what makes you feel loved?” The question stopped me cold in my tracks. I was quiet for a bit because the truth was, I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer the question. But today, I know exactly what makes me feel loved. I feel loved when I feel seen. I feel loved when I feel heard. I feel loved when I feel safe, secure and understood. I feel loved when my children hug me or take a walk with me. I feel loved when I arrive to lunch with a friend and see that they’ve ordered me something that they know I like. Over the years, I’ve learned that love isn’t just the stuff of movies or novels. It’s the day-to-day stuff that you don’t hear about often enough. Love is someone putting a blanket over you. Love is someone calling you simply to say hi. Love is someone taking you to the doctor and patiently waiting by your side. Love is someone stopping to listen to you. (I mean, really listen to you.) Love is when someone gives you their time and speaks to you in a loving and kind way. I’ve also learned what love isn’t. Love isn’t degrading or belittling. It’s not shameful of confusing. Someone doesn’t get to say “I love you” after degrading you or abusing you. (If you need a reminder of that, read Rob Porter’s ex-wife Jennie Willoughby’s powerful essay.) They also don’t get to only tell you “I love you” after you get an “A” on a test or win first place in a competition. Love isn’t conditional. It’s healing. It’s nurturing. It’s empowering. And the good news is, we can all show it to one another in the here and now. So on this weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day, I hope you are able to reflect on all the love in your life. I hope you are also able to take the time to reflect on the love being given to you, and on the love that you have to give to those around you. We all need to feel love, especially in these turbulent and changing times. I mean, look at us. People all around us are fighting and struggling. They are struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually, and, yes, physically. They feel lonely, anxious, scared, confused, and misunderstood. Empathy and love are the cure for these feelings. That’s why it behooves us all to take a step back and check our empathy quotient. Each of us can step back and ask ourselves, “Are we leading from a place of love, empathy and understanding?” Are you doing your best to show love to yourself and others? Are you doing your best to cultivate compassion and empathy in your children? Are you doing your best to show love to those you work with and interact with on a daily basis? These are questions we can each ask ourselves every day. As I watched several news stories unfold this week, I was struck once again by the fact that none of us truly know what is going on in the life of another human being. We make judgments all the time about people, about couples, about strangers. And yet, we know nothing. What I do know for sure is that we all need love. We all crave that feeling. And yet, we don’t always know when someone is really in need of it most. We never know what someone is going through or what they are feeling at any given moment. That’s why the best way to approach every person or situation in our lives is with love.

Love is a gift. In fact, it’s the best gift that each of us can give to one another. That’s not just true on Valentine’s Day. It’s true each and every day.

With my new book “I’ve Been Thinking” coming out in three weeks (it’s available for pre-order now), I thought this would be a good time to ask you what you’ve been thinking, too. What’s on your mind? Write to me and let me know. We’ll share your perspective in an upcoming Sunday Paper.



It’s always an honor to speak with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a leading pediatrician and the author of the new book “The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.” In our Architects of Change LIVE conversation this week, she offers profound insights into how childhood trauma affects a person’s health and wellness over the course of their lifetime. Her insights will change how you think about poverty and adversity in America. Don’t miss. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE]


In his new book, “The Yes Brain,” New York Times bestselling author Dr. Dan Siegel explores the inner-workings of our children’s brains. He teaches us that how we communicate with them can actually CHANGE the architecture of their brains, and the course of their lives. Wow. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE]


I’m so excited that renowned relationship expert Terry Real has contributed a piece to the Sunday Paper. Terry introduces couples to a radically unique kind of relationship — one based on the idea that women have the power to transform marriage. I think you’ll find his essay “How to Get Through to Your Man” to be an interesting read. [READ MORE]


As the Winter Olympics kick off this weekend, we thought it would be a great time to share the voice of one of my favorite people, Scott Hamilton. The Olympic gold medalist has a new book out called “Finish First,” in which he reveals how to bring out the hidden potential and the champion within each of us. You don’t want to miss it. [READ AN EXCERPT HERE]


This week, we are proud to honor Emma Yang as our Architect of Change of the Week. This 14-year-old wiz kid was inspired to create an app for Alzheimer’s patients after witnessing the challenges that her grandmother, who suffers from the disease, faces on a daily basis. Though still being developed, the “Timeless” app will help individuals with Alzheimer’s stay more connected with the people that they love. [READ HER STORY HERE]


1. SpaceX Launches Tesla Into Space: Wow. Watching this amazing feed this week of the Tesla Roadster that launched into space has just mesmerized me. The car was sent into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, considered “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.” As Elon Musk said this week, “It’s kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important.” I couldn’t agree more. WATCH THE FEED featuring Starman, the robot, behind wheel.

2. Historic Handshake at Olympics’ Opening Ceremony: The Olympics bring people together from all over the world, and Friday’s opening ceremony was no exception. At the ceremony, South Korean President Moon Jae-in twice shook hands with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It was a powerful moment that was followed on Saturday by Kim Jong-Un inviting the South Korean president for a meeting. [READ MORE]

3. Baby With Down Syndrome Named the New Gerber Baby: This news made me so happy this week. Adorable 18-month-old Lucas Warren from Dalton, GA, was selected out of 140,000 entrants to be the 2018 Gerber “Spokesbaby.” It was “Lucas’ “winning smile and joyful expression” that won their hearts this year. [READ MORE]
4. Kids Deliver Adorable Report on Black History Month: I love this fun and youthful video that honors Black History Month. A campaign called Because of Them We Can released a video this week of young children “reporting” on black excellence on CNN. Enjoy. [READ MORE]

5. Modern Dad Explains Why He Puts His Wife’s Career First:  I love this essay by this father, who explains that the well-being of his family depends on him taking on the primary parenting role. This is a unique perspective and an interesting read that you won’t want to miss. [READ MORE]

6. Six Teenagers Are Running For Governor in Kansas: The aspirations of these young people give me hope. Because there are no minimum age restrictions to run for office in Kansas, six teenagers have announced their bids in the state’s gubernatorial race. I’ve always believed there are leaders everywhere and they come in all ages, genders, and zip codes. [READ MORE]

7. “Who are the People That are Fanning Your Flames?” This Will Smith video has gone viral, and I’m so glad it has. Inspired by a Rumi poem, the actor made a Facebook Live video this week telling his followers to surround themselves with people who will move them forward in their quest for purpose. Watch the video below.


THE GIFT AND POWER OF EMOTIONAL COURAGEAs a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, Susan David focuses on how we deal with our emotions, both individually and as a society. Her latest TED Talk, The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage, has gone viral, and I’m not surprised. I enjoyed when we sat down to talk last year and I know her words will move you, too. Susan reminds us that our emotions shape everything that matters: our health and well-being; how we parent; and how we forge just, caring, and sustainable communities and organizations. WATCH NOW

Have you heard a speech in your community or online that you think we should share? Write to us.


This Hafiz reflection made me smile. I love the idea that God circled exactly where I am on a map. It’s a sentiment we all need to remember as we journey through life’s ups and downs.



Get Empowered. Pass It Forward.

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve added a few new items to our shop! Check out our stylish apparel to fight Alzheimer’s, created in partnership with Art With a Purpose. You can also order our newest product, the “Maria” candle – the same scent used in her office and home. Visit the shop on to learn more.


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