I have a friend who is a teacher. She is bright, attractive, has a wonderful personality and is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone. There are, however, many people who feel as though she is abrasive and somewhat of a ‘know-it-all’. It is true that when she speaks about anything, she will find a way to tell you that she is a certified teacher within the first few sentences, no matter what you may be conversing about. As soon as those words come out, eyes begin to roll and comments such as, ‘there she goes again’ are heard. I must admit, I have been guilty of that myself. And then I began to really think about the ‘why’ instead of the ‘what’.

Could it be that my intelligent, attractive friend is really so insecure that she has to communicate her ‘credentials’ each time that she speaks? Could it be that she feels as though her thoughts, ideas and suggestions aren’t going to be heard or considered if they are just Mary’s, not Mary the teacher’s? How sad!

Valentine’s Day is on Monday. Perhaps this year we should include ourselves on the ‘people I love this year’ list. Each one of us is unique, worthy and is blessed with gifts beyond our awareness and comprehension. Whatever we do, wherever we live, whatever our age is, we are valued and loved because ‘we are….’

This Valentine’s Day, love yourself, be grateful for who you are, for your gifts and talents. Drop the credentials, they don’t define you. It’s freeing. Laugh a lot, cry a little and thank God who always loves us first.