Story: People Want To Be Loved Specially.

For the weekly videos, I now tell a story. I’ve realized that for me, and I think for many people, a story is what holds my attention and makes a point most powerfully.

This week’s story: People want to be loved specially.


The two books I mention are Faber and Mazlish’s fantastic books, Siblings Without Rivalry (which is where you’ll find the specific point I mention) and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.  I think both books are just as applicable to adults as children.

How about you? Do you think that people want to be loved specially? I’m reminded of the lines from W. H. Auden’s poem, “September 1, 1939”–I’m not sure that they’re exactly apt here, but they spring to mind:

For the error bred in the bone

Of each woman and each man

Craves what it cannot have,

Not universal love

But to be loved alone.

You can check out the archives of videos here. More than 1.3 MILLION views, baby!

  • anonymous

    This is so true. I crave to be “the one and only” love by my spouse. Thank you for sharing, Gretchen.

  • Susan B.

    I have always liked Faber and Mazlish, and I love your video stories, Gretchen.

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! thanks!

  • Veronique

    This is so perfect that all I can say is…you bet.

  • Great job. I love how you tell a story with such flare. Great point as well.

    • gretchenrubin

      Awww thanks!

  • Deborah Avila

    My grandfather would always say– [we are 3 grand daughters ] I love you as my absolute Best girl.” To my sister he’d say~ I love you as my most special girl.” And thirdly he’d say, “I love you as my most unique girl!” We each felt as separate entities and individually needed in his life. Wonderful message and books! Bless you Gretchen for being a friend & living example of Happiness.

    • gretchenrubin

      Has anyone read the YA book Wonder by Palacio?

      In general, having “favorites” among siblings isn’t a good thing, of course, but I got tears in my eyes in the passage where the grandmother tells the sister something like, “I love Auggie very much, but he has many special angels watching over him. For me, you are my whole world.”

  • Margret Schell

    We’re expecting our second any day now and I just read Siblings Without Rivalry. Loved it! As I loved their other book.

  • Charlene Campbell

    No, I just want to be loved the most… Kidding, I hope I pull this one out of the bag next time I need it!

  • peninith1

    This is so important, as much for parents to really know in their hearts as for children to understand. I have two sons, and they are VERY different people. I think it took my older son a long time to realize how much he is loved–by me and by everyone. It also took me a long time to feel comfortable about my different relationships with two very different people–never lacking in love, but sometimes differing greatly in the level of conflict!

  • Amy

    Before my brother and I were born, my cousin asked my dad if he loved my mom or her more. His answer was perfect: I love you both differently.

  • Molly

    Ahhh…love those lines by Auden! And great story! Agreed!

  • anne

    2 things:
    fond remembrance: when my dad died, my 3 sisters and i realized that we each thought he had loved us the best. a worthy goal for a parent—to love each child the best.

    a bit of advice: don’t start each video telling us that you want to tell us a story, just tell us the story without preface. wasting those first words on ‘i’m going to tell you a story’ causes you to lose the chance to draw us in.

  • Susan aka paintermom

    When my children expressed those worries, I would say, “I have a Daniel-shaped (or Brenna-shaped or Jonathan-shaped) space in my heart that only you can fill.” this seemed to do the trick.

  • Machtelt

    Fits in perfectly with Craving for Gold stars….

  • Colleen

    I’m totally with you on Faber and Mazlish. Best 2 parenting books ever. I also want to share a great analogy about love that helped my older daughter when my younger daughter arrived: Love is like the flame of a candle. You can light lots of additional flames from that one candle. It doesn’t run out. As a mom I don’t have limited amounts of love to give my children. I love them each uniquely – and there’s always enough to go around.

  • Siblings without Rivalry is such a great book. Being an only child, I had no concept of how to raise two daughters who fought violently to get my attention. That book SAVED MY SANITY!!! Without it, and Parenting with Love and Logic, I would have been SOL! Also of note, they offer workshops on siblings without rivalry – I took that in conjunction with reading the book, and it really solidified the parenting tools I learned from the book!

    • I love this book too and it fits so nicely with Parenting with Love and Logic. I love them both too:)

  • whatgoeson

    I like Gretchen!

  • I’ve read that book and I used this concept just this morning! I’m going to have my 3rd baby in May and my daughter was asking about who I loved more. I told her I had special love just for her, just for her brother, and just for her dad. The Siblings without Rivalry book and it makes a lot of sense. I also liked how a presenter at a Positive Discipline illustrated her love for her little boy who was having trouble adjusting to his mom having more children. She used a candle and showed how her love lit lots of candles without putting out or diminishing any of the candles that were already lit. I thought that was a pretty awesome visual for love.

  • wanda

    This makes me think about how my sisters say I was mom’s favorite. We have one brother and he is everyones favorite. But of course we are all loved for our special individual and unique talents and attributes.

  • Beth

    I defintely agree with you. I want to be loved specially by all who love me, but this reminds me most of something my little sister said to me when she was about nine years old. My brother had gone away to college and I was a junior in high school. I saw how much my sister missed my brother and looked forward to seeing him when we went down for his soccer games. One day I said to her, “You love —- more than me!” And she very calmly said to me, “He treats me like a little kid, but you treat me like a friend.” I smiled to myself because this was a very satisfying answer to me. My sister has always been wise beyond her years. In fact, that was the theme of my wedding toast to her as her matron of honor.

  • kim

    A great children’s book is “I Love You the Purplest” by Barbara Joosse. The mom in it makes each of her boys feel special, and loves one the “bluest” and one the “reddest”, when they ask who she loves best.

  • Allison

    Wow, that is SO true. Wish my mom and dad had heard that back when they were raising the five of us. They were wonderful people, but they wanted everything to be fair among us and in doing that truly none of us got to feel all that unique or special, and it made for some sibling rivalries that live on today. Loving the people in my life specially is a good goal for 2013! Thanks for sharing this!