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By Shell Phelps

As we enter this world, our emotional bank accounts have very little available balance. The truth is, we are all dealt an unchangeable hand to start our lives. We don’t get to choose who teaches us or how we are taught love. 

From the start, our caregivers teach us our first experience of love, giving us our first return on investment. This provides us with the fundamentals of giving and receiving unconditional love, which we all deserve. While some of us got lucky, others struggled with the quality of our caregivers.

When you were first shown love, it became your introduction to kindness. Being kind allows you the opportunity to share your life with someone else. Showing kindness is a gateway to inviting people into your heart. Loving words and actions are how you make deposits into others’ emotional accounts. The more deposits there are, the more interest you compound in your emotional savings account. When you reach that state of happiness, you give and receive love in abundant amounts. 

This is when small reflections pay loving compound interest to the people we care about, including you. Let down all barriers to truly love unconditionally. Give love as a gift to someone deserving, with a no-refund policy. Remove any “if” statements for love and replace with “because” statements. “If” statements are conditional; “because” statements are unconditional. Accept all aspects of the person, not just part of them. This should be a person who makes you think to yourself, “I love this person because they make me feel alive.” Unconditional love is the best gift you can give someone, especially when you give it to yourself.

I think most of us agree that family is important, but it’s up to you to decide how important, even though we don’t get to pick them all. Don’t take the family you love for granted and expect that they’ll always be there when you’re not. Show family love, compassion, and kindness when they need it most. There are no do-overs in life. 

Family isn’t always biological. Remember that as an adult, you get to decide which family members are important in your life. Sometimes your friends will become your family and your family becomes your friends. Make sure you show them their value. You decide who your family is and how important that relationship is to you. You set the tone and pace. If they’re good for you, see them often.

Friendships are also worth the Investment. True friends are hard to come by; if you have three close friends, you’re doing great. Friendships keep you in balance because, unlike family, they choose to be in your life. It should be a give-and-take, mutually kindred connection with common ground. Friendships are built on trust and can bring closeness to your heart.

Friends are worth having. It’s wonderful to have someone by your side and know you’re not alone. Friendship is about being flexible, sharing the same interests, enjoying meaningful conversations, and just doing things together. 

Sometimes friends drift apart due to distance or circumstances. Usually, the most meaningful ones will withstand the test of time because the quality and trust remain intact. Friendships can be like the weather, so ride out the storms and the sun will rise again. Overcoming the challenges means you both grow stronger and the bond runs deeper. 

If you have any doubt that someone is truly your friend, you may already know the answer. You’ll know in your gut and heart. The right friends are worth investing in, so choose wisely and foster those friendships.

At the end of the day, life is to be shared. Experience life with others; embrace those special moments and share your happiness with family and friends. It makes life more meaningful. Spend your time with quality individuals. You get to decide who you spend your time with and for how long. If you have good people surrounding you, your emotional savings will never be empty, and neither will theirs.

Shell Phelps


Shell Phelps is a SHRM-Certified Human Resources Director and co-founder of Phelps Strategies, where she is a strategic life coach. She holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology and previously ran her own private therapy practice. As a strategic life coach, Shell focuses on solution-based strategies to help her clients get through life’s greatest challenges and live happier, more fulfilled lives.  She is the author of the popular book The Big Bliss Blueprint: 100 Little Thoughts to Build Positive Life Changes. 

Learn more about Shell and her work at


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