Endlessly optimistic while also being relentlessly driven to succeed, there is a passion to Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) that is unlike any other. However, what truly sets her apart is her predisposition for extreme caring. Whether it’s about the people in her inner circle, the citizens of Pawnee, or whatever challenge comes her away, Leslie approaches everything with passion and enthusiasm. It simply isn’t in her nature to be apathetic about anything. Even stuff that she hates — namely vegetables, libraries, and the town of Eagleton — inspires strong responses.
Some people are just made to care. If you’ve ever found yourself making elaborate birthday gifts for your friends, working late hours at work to ensure that you get the job done, or find yourself drawn to making your community better, you just might have a role model in Leslie Knope. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you care a little bit more (ok, probably a lot more) than those around you, these Knope gems will inspire you.
“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work is third.”
Sometimes when you care as much about everything as Leslie does, your priorities can get a little skewed. Yes, it is very important to give your work and your responsibilities your all, but not always at the expense of your friendships. It can be hard to be at 100% caring capacity all the time, so be sure your priorities stay on track. Some things just don’t require your full attention. Except for waffles. Waffles are always important.
“One person’s ‘annoying’ is another person’s ‘inspiring and heroic.'”
When you’re a one woman wrecking ball of enthusiasm, sometimes people won’t see things your way. Not everyone has the same natural drive, so they might even ask you to tone it down a bit. However, don’t let the haters dim your shine. Leslie Knope got to where she is because of her hard work and dogged spirit, and while that may annoy the Ron Swansons of the world, ultimately they’ll come around. Reluctantly, yes. But they’ll see what you accomplish nonetheless.
“What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.”
Sometimes a bad situation is just a matter of perspective. While some could look at Leslie’s dealings with the stubborn people of Pawnee as one woman swimming against the tide of negativity and outright weirdness, Leslie sees their screams as opportunities to do good work. They might be trying to drown her out, but it’s only because they care as much as she does. They just don’t know what to do about it in the same way that Leslie does as she works from the Parks department and beyond.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re seemingly all alone with your convictions, just remember that if Leslie can deal with people who insist on drinking from toxic fountains and putting Twilight in a time capsule, then you can channel the opposition’s passion into something good.
“I am super chill all the time!”
When you care as much as Leslie, that can often translate to mania. If you care about everything, you don’t ever get a moment to just be. Even the most motivated of people need a minute to breathe once in a while. If you find yourself getting more and more deranged in your pursuit of making a difference, you might need a little silence so you can refresh, regroup, and return to fight another day.
“If I had to have a stripper’s name, it would be Equality.”
Sometimes your passions will come up in direct opposition to each other. For Leslie, her desire to champion the rights of women was in conflict with her desire to be a good friend of casual (but usually well-meaning) misogynist, Tom (Aziz Ansari). However, if you’re like Leslie, a little finagling will find you able to support everything you care about at once. You may need to explore the confines of your situation, but you’ll likely find a little wiggle room. When you’re enthusiasm for human rights are at an all-time high like Leslie’s, you’ll always find a way to make it work.
“Hey, Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”
One of the most encouraging things about Leslie is how she always champions her own causes even when no one else is on her side. Self-care is a beautiful and necessary thing, and Leslie really excels at the art of the pep talk. Next time you’re sending an encouraging text to a buddy, maybe pass on some of those good vibes to yourself. You might even thank you.
“I don’t want to be overdramatic, but today felt like 100 years in hell and the absolutely worst day of my life.”
Passionate people usually have a flair for the dramatic, so when things are the worst, they are the worst. This penchant for hyperbole comes out especially when you’re tired, as Leslie’s does after a particularly grueling day at the office. Caring about everything can take a toll, so the next time you’re exhaustion causes some overreactions, take a moment to reflect. Like Leslie, you have a purpose and friends who support you. As long as you have that, things aren’t so bad.
“I took your idea and I made it better.”
Passionate people are drawn to other passionate people because collaboration is the root of a successful team. While, yes, Leslie can be a bit of a steamroller (Ann watched all of the Harry Potter movies because of her and she doesn’t even like Harry Potter), she knows how to take one person’s small idea and make it great. If you’re anything like Leslie, the people around you are bound to pay attention: either get on board or get left behind. Nothing can slow this care train down.
“Ann, you beautiful spinster. I will find you love.”
“Meddle” is such a soft term for Leslie’s interference into the love life of her best friend and the target for most of her emotional excess. But while she always has Ann’s best interest at heart, something’s Leslie can go a little overboard. It’s all in the name of love because she cares about Ann’s happiness so much, but she often forgets that Ann does alright figuring out her love life on her own. Things go smoother for both of them when Leslie reins it in and just listens to Ann’s feelings and gives advice when solicited. If you, like Leslie, care about the wellbeing of your friends, you too have called your friend “a beautiful, rule-breaking moth.”
“I’m cried out, but I want to cry more, so I’m rehydrating.”
When you just can’t stop your emotional rollercoaster, sometimes your body will rebel against you. Leslie often found herself thwarted by her own body in the pursuit of her emotional fulfillment, be it by her frustrating need for things like sleep and the limited resources of her tear ducts. If you find yourself running into the limits of your body when you’re quite busy giving a damn on a regular basis, maybe… take a tiny nap?