Valentine’s Day may not be a bed of roses for everyone. But it is a good reminder for anyone (single, married, vowed, or otherwise committed) to be more intentional about showing love. Here are fourteen easy ways to show people love today — or any day.
- Call a widow(er). Maybe it is your mom…your neighbor…your grandpa. They have lost their soulmate, and holidays stir up memories that are bittersweet. Let them know you love them.
- Visit an old friend…or a friend who happens to be old. They were young once too, and might have some wisdom to impart. Your visit will make their day.
- Drop the grudge you’re holding, at least for today. It’s like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
- Empty the dishwasher…before your mom, spouse, or roommate has to ask.
- Give someone in your family a hug or a call. Just because.
- Words can hurt…but they can also build up. Surprise someone — your co-worker, student, child — with a genuine compliment.
- Since you’re already outside, snowblow your neighbor’s sidewalk…and don’t let him see you did it. If you’re fortunate enough not to have snow this winter, then life is pretty good, isn’t it? Go and do something good for someone who can’t repay you.
- Marriage, like anything worth committing to, isn’t always sweet after the honeymoon. Reach out to a married friend in distress. Listen. Encourage. But mainly listen.
- Reconsider someone who annoys you. A nosey co-worker, an unpleasant sibling, a cranky pastor. Are they really trying to annoy people, or are they just looking to be loved? [For a solution to this, see number 6.]
- Love zealously…not jealously. Sometimes loving someone means pulling them closer to you. And sometimes it means giving them time and space to flourish on their own. This love can be hard.
- Apologize to you-know-who for you-know-what. Just do it. You’ll feel better immediately, and it will be the start of a new chapter for both of you.
- Go to a sacred space – or just a quiet place – and give thanks to God for the people in your life who love you, no strings attached. Maybe write one of them a note.
- Remember that no act of kindness is wasted. An anonymous donation to a charity. A lunch invitation to a ‘lowly’ intern in your office. An extra 15 minutes with a student in crisis. These are small acts that teach the next generation what it means to love and live generously. As Jesus said, “an unseen good deed is but another jewel in your crown in heaven.” (Editor’s note: Jesus never said this – but remembering it will keep you sane when your good deed goes unnoticed.)
- Stop looking at your Facebook feed…and be fed by a face-to-face interaction with someone. But only after you share this on Facebook.
Now get busy loving!
Have any other ideas for showing people love? Leave them in the comments below.