Lady Love: 3 Life Lessons Leslie Knope Taught Me

What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.– Leslie Knope

Hello flossy readers, this post is going to be one of many dedicated to life lessons learned from some of my favorite TV ladies.

I don’t know about you but growing up some of my best memories happened right in front of the “boob tube” as my mom (awkwardly, painfully) called it. Yes, I was raised in the country and learned to make mud pies with the best of them—don’t ask—but I would be lying if I said while growing up I didn’t get into more than a couple (hundred) arguments with my parents about more “TV Time.”

There was just something so wonderful about coming home from school, making a mixing bowl full of cereal, and lying on the couch to the lullaby of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or All That, my lips mouthing the theme songs like a drugged drone.

I love the idea of using some of the wonderful women of TV as my spirit animals, guiding me through the throes of life.  So naturally, the first “Lady Love” post is dedicated to the unflappable, irreplaceable Leslie Knope.

Life Lesson 1: Never, ever, ever give up.


Anyone who watches Parks and Rec, knows what makes Leslie Knope so unique is her unstoppable approach to life. Homegirl doesn’t give up. Ever. Even when people laugh at her, slander her, ignore her, make fun of her, or try to end her career (maybe all in a single day), she just sprays a bit more whipped cream on her waffles and keeps chugging along. How many of us can say we approach life like that? I mean, if my internet connection goes bad for five minutes I almost have a bag sucking panic attack and vow to give up on life forever.

Yes, she gets called a bulldozer and says outlandish things like “I took your idea and made it better” in normal conversation, but her intentions are always pure. She refuses to give up on her career goals no matter how many times she fails. She never gives up on her town of Pawnee even though at one point they created a We Hate Leslie Knope float for a town parade.

She keeps going, doggedly looking for a way to spin her situation positively. Back home we call that grit.

Yes it’s fiction. Yes it’s hilarious. But it’s also totally relevant. There are times in life that require us to get effing tough. I bet you can think of at least one time in the past year where you were forced outside of your comfort zone and into a situation that made you want to hide under your desk or bed or covers (basically any entity that fake hides us). Looking to Leslie Knope really helps me during times that require I buck up and keep going. I see that small, smiling face that refuses to crack and feel myself growing a little taller and a little more sturdy.  If that doesn’t work, I take a different note from her book and pump up the Sarah McLachlan and do some air punches.

Life Lesson 2: Support others…hard.


Leslie Knope knows her way around a complement. Her best friend, Ann, is often overwhelmed at the intense love Leslie shows her on a daily basis. I think we sometimes get a little (understandably) nervous when people come right out and say they think we’re great or beautiful or possess a lithe, elfin body (yep, Leslie) but it’s so endearing watching Leslie Knope love everyone so hard. I mean the woman invented Galentines day, a day dedicated to showering women with love and respect.

This Life Lesson is one at which I both have succeeded greatly and failed miserably.  I’m pretty open with my affection (thanks mom and dad) and have been known to hug strangers at inappropriate times. But I’m also extremely competitive. Playing basketball my entire life caused be the best, be the best, be the best or the even healthier WIN, WIN, WIN to become my unintentional mantras. Even to this day I’ll find myself on the elliptical at the gym (real intense, ya’ll) and the person next to me will be clipping right along, minding their own business, when, before I know it I’m dedicating my mind, body, and soul to beating them, ending them. Pray tell, how does one win at ellipticalling?!?

It’s a problem.

However, seeing Leslie Knope shower her friends, coworkers, and even enemies with compliments, love, and some pretty insane gifts (handmade scrapbooks anyone?) sets a great example for me. I want to be like that. I want people to know that I really appreciate them and admire their work. I want to open my mouth, and before I can think, a heartfelt compliment just kind of falls out. Even if it makes the other person uncomfortable. Even if it makes me uncomfortable. It’s a work in progress, but I’m willing to take the leap if it means I won’t be banned from (another) gym.

Life Lesson 3: Be yourself. Your weird, weird self.

Sounds cheesy, but y’all, sometimes the simplest sounding lessons are the hardest to execute. It’s straight up hard to avoid diving right in with the status quo splashed across our phones and computers. It’s hard being comfortable with yourself especially if yourself is kind of lame.

…or confused or boring or bad at math or awkward or a lover of needle point or someone who just doesn’t get green smoothies, avocados on toast, and HIIT workouts. Authenticity is Leslie Knope’s bag, and watching her barrel through life with a smile on her face and a little crazy in her eyes is totally refreshing.

She loves Madeleine Albright and waffles and her best friend and whipped cream and Pawnee, Indianna and she doesn’t falter or apologize one iota.  I think we need a little more of that authenticity. I think I need a little more of that authenticity. The times in my life when I’ve shown up, really shown up without an ounce of armor, are the times I look back on with the most pride.

Leslie Knope is so stinking unique and she’s fabulous for it. There isn’t another person like her, and you know what, there isn’t another person like you! So what if you can’t really do long division or home decor, you do you, and the world will be better for it.

What are life lessons your favorite TV peeps have taught you? Are you a crazy Leslie Knope fan like I am? 

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