Today, I spoke to Marci Shimoff, who is one of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time. She has just released her latest bestseller called Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, which offers a revolutionary approach to experiencing a state of deep and lasting love. In this interview, Marci talks about how to recover from stress and depression, and love yourself.

Why did you decide to write Love for No Reason? What message are you looking to get across with it?

After I finished writing Happy for No Reason I’d definitely gotten much happier. Still, I knew there was something I wanted that was beyond happiness. I thought about the times in my life when I was most fulfilled, and they were when I was in love. But of course, those times don’t last. So I began wondering whether I could feel that “in love” feeling all the time—whether or not I was in a relationship or whether someone was treating me the way I wanted.

I ended up doing extensive research on love and interviewing 150 Love Luminaries, people living in a state of unconditional love—the kind of love that doesn’t depend on another person, situation, or romantic partner. I discovered that there are specific things we can all do to live with a more open heart.

This message is urgent for the world today. Our present paradigm of love—one based on need and approval—has brought us nothing but personal pain and global conflict. Now is the time to open our hearts and become an unshakeable source of love for ourselves and everyone around us.

In today’s economy, people are feeling stressed out, and some even depressed. What advice do you have for these people?

While it may seem like a luxury to focus on unconditional love when you’re in the midst of challenges, research shows that keeping your heart open when you’re facing challenges will actually help you get through them more easily and effectively. This is because the body’s “love response” is the antidote to the body’s stress response. When we switch on the neurophysiology of love, we release “love chemicals,” including endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin, which help us to feel more positive, and we activate the higher brain centers that govern creativity, intelligence, and problem-solving skills.

Is it possible to love someone else if you don’t love yourself first? What changes can you make to feel better about who you are?

In my interview with Love Luminary and psychologist Dr. Art Aron, he told me that a lack of self-love is a terrible handicap in relationships. He cited a study that showed that people who didn’t love themselves overreacted to problems in relationships, perceived signs of rejection where none existed, and put down their partners as a defense mechanism, reducing the closeness between them. Bottom line: healthy relationships with others are based on a healthy relationship with yourself.

Experiencing unconditional love for yourself—and others—starts with taming your inner critic. That critical voice inside your head acts like poison on your system. Thankfully, the Love Luminaries offered a two-step process you can use as an antidote to this toxic condition:

  1. Give Your Inner Critic a Name. Naming the voice, with a dose of humor, is a way of becoming separate from it. It’s one aspect of you—an unruly one at that—but it’s not your deeper self that’s speaking. When you step away from that voice enough to name it, you soon observe that its stream of unsupportive comments is more white noise than hot newsflash. You can notice the comments, but keep going without engaging with them.
  2. Find the Critic’s Deeper Message. Refusing to engage with the critic is an important first step toward reducing its power over you. But to send it packing, you have to find out why he or she is there. This involves going inward to ask, with kindness and openness, What are you trying to do for me? What you’ll find may surprise you. You see, your inner critic actually wants the best for you and is only trying to help, but doesn’t know any other way to communicate. In its own twisted way, it’s showing you how much it cares.

So the next time you feel picked on by your inner critic, address it by name, ask it what positive purpose it’s trying to serve, and incorporate any of its suggestions that feel useful.

Relationships are critical for human growth and happiness. What are some strategies to pull more people into your life instead of pushing them away?

Learn to let love in! Many of us shy away from receiving because we don’t want to seem self-centered or selfish. While writing this book I decided that I would try a 40-day receiving practice. This meant consciously looking for ways that I could become more open to receiving love.

For me, the main practice was actively allowing people to do things for me—like letting someone hold the door open, accepting a friend’s offer to share her lunch, allowing a colleague go out of his way to help me. This was hard at first; I was so conditioned to say, ““Don’t bother, I can do it.”

I realized I’d been going around with a shield that prevented people from giving to me—from even offering to give. I’d made a point to always do it myself, because I didn’t want to bother others or take up their time. My I-can-do-anything Superwoman persona was really just low self-worth in disguise and it kept love out of my life.

The next time I caught myself slipping into my old way of behaving, I took a deep breath, smiled, and said, “Thank you,” while receiving the gift fully by feeling appreciation in my heart. I suggest people try this practice themselves. Forty days of receiving love and support from others will keep your heart open—and love flowing in and out more easily.


Marci Shimoff has just released her latest bestseller called Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, which offers a revolutionary approach to experiencing a state of deep and lasting love. Marci is the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her six bestselling titles, including Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, have met with stunning success, selling more than 13 million copies worldwide in 33 languages. They have been on the New York Times bestseller list for a total of 108 weeks (#1 for 12 weeks) and have also been #1 on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly lists. Marci is one of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason. Marci is a featured teacher in the hit movie phenomenon and #1 bestselling book, The Secret. For the past 20 years, she has been a top-rated speaker and trainer for numerous Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, General Motors, Sears, Amoco, Western Union, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.