You've probably seen the signs everywhere. At HomeGoods. In the doctor's office waiting room. In the housewares aisle at Target. The messages are all the same: Live, Laugh, Love. Sometimes, it's written on an actual sign. Other times, on a mug. But no matter what, the message has become inescapable.
It's even surpassed the popularity of that other trendy phrase, "Keep Calm and Carry On." While the origins of that saying is clear - it was a slogan from WWII-era Britain - "Live, Laugh, Love" has a slightly murkier history. That's because it's a condensed version of a much longer work that has been falsely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, thanks to a 1990 "Dear Abby" column.
The real source of "Live, Laugh, Love" is Bessie Anderson Stanley's 1904 poem, "Success." Stanley originally submitted the work in the form of an essay for a contest held by Brown Book magazine that asked entrants to define success. You'll likely recognize more of the contest-winning piece, but our "Live, Laugh, Love" inspiration can be found in the first line:
He achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world better than he found it, Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory a benediction.
"Success" lived on in quote anthologies and Stanley's headstone, before being misattributed and then condensed to its most recognizable form. Today, this saying has been put on everything imaginable and some people even put their own twist on the phrase, as seen with these pillows ($8, amazon.com).
Part of the reason this saying is so popular in home decor, especially on walls like these shelves ($33, target.com), is because it reminds us of what's most important in life.
This colorful piece of art ($18, amazon.com) with a positive message would be a wonderful addition to a gallery wall.
Another option is going with a wall decal ($25,amazon.com), which will make a major statement in any room.
Or, if this saying is basically your life's motto, maybe you need something even flashier, like "Live, Laugh, Love" bedding ($54, wayfair.com).
Perhaps a measure of one's success is having one's words inspire the creativity of others over a hundred years later. If you agree, you might be interested in some of Amazon's most popular items with this saying on them. Happy shopping!
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