As a career businesswoman and entrepreneur I never thought discussions about love would qualify as a legit part of my day job, but life is just that profound.

Something I coach clients about and regularly reflect on is unconditional love and its role in our success, both personally and professionally.

Your Brain on Love

Most of us were raised on conditional love. For example, we received more loving responses when we got good grades, helped out around the house, were kind to siblings, had a good attitude, or, in general, made our parents proud. The neurons in our brains when we did something awesome and when we felt love fired over and over, fusing those two things together in a powerful way.

The Whole You

But what about the other parts of us? The reality is we are not all luscious, sweet watermelon with no bitter seeds. We let ourselves and others down, we get lazy, we repeat bad habits, we skip workouts, we overeat, we aren’t patient, we get frustrated, stressed, angry and (name your negative emotion of choice).

How we treat ourselves and how we relate to ourselves in those moments has a lot to do with our happiness and success. When we are hard on ourselves and see our negative emotions as bad, rather than signals for our growth, we develop a false view of who we really are. We fragment our true selves and diminish our personal power. From this place we pick up notions like we’re not good enough, not worthy, not capable of getting it right, and we limit ourselves.

Inside this idea of loving ourselves, wholly, is a golden opportunity.

Laugh (or, LAF) More

As we move forward into a new year, I invite you to join me in looking at the way you love. As Stephen Covey reminds us in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, love is a verb. It is realized through action.

Love, Accept and Forgive yourself this year… more than you ever thought possible.