Every year for February 14th we buy Valentine’s Day cards for significant others, spouses, friends, family members and even classmates. It is the one day per year that some consciously remember to dote on those around them and let others know how much they care. While romantic and thoughtful, for many this practice is sometimes limited to this one day (or other special occasions) where they show their love for others. Is showing others compassion, love, gratitude and affection something that we truly want to reserve for one day? Or, is this something that we should practice year-round?
Often in life, and in the network of our relationships, we become comfortable. That’s not to say that we don’t care, but that perhaps we don’t consistently show that we care or show our love for others and the world around us as much as we should. We take things for granted, and we take people in our lives for granted. Almost all of us are guilty of this at some time or another, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something that we can strive to be better at.
We don’t have to wait until February 14th to buy a sweet card or to write a loving letter to those we care about. In fact, I feel that those signs of appreciation make an even deeper impact if they fall on random days or times when they are unexpected.
I used to write my husband cute little sticky notes for him to find in the morning all the time when we first started dating. It used to make him smile, and he would lovingly express his appreciation for them. So why did I stop? Isn’t bringing joy to his day worth the extra effort? Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday to treat almost as you would New Years — with new intents and goals of showing love to those around you on a more consistent basis.
This expression of love can be extended to our family members and our friends, to our children, our coworkers, to anyone who we care about. These individuals in your life deserve to hear on a regular basis how much they mean to you, and they in turn will feel more deeply loved and/or appreciated as a result. Whether it’s through a card, letter, hug, phone call or even a face-to-face interaction, you can show those around you how much you value them every day.
This outwardly display of compassion doesn’t have to be limited to those who are close to you, either. Human beings are all deserving of love, and expressing appreciation to those you run across throughout your day or week, sometimes complete strangers, is just as nice. You can tell the woman who let you skip her in line how kind and considerate she is. You can tell the person behind the cash register how appreciative you are of her friendly attitude, or make a point to genuinely thank the employee who walked all over the store to help you find what you were looking for. Love and gratitude are wonderful feelings to share.
Love and gratitude also don’t have to be verbally expressed to others every day to exist. If there is anyone currently in your life (or deceased) that you have felt/currently feel love towards, simply remembering them or thinking of them with an open heart full of gratitude is a nice way to honor that love. You can even think lovingly of those who you have grown apart from, those who have hurt you or those who might need love the most. Just by thinking it or feeling it, you are sharing your love.
Life seems to pass by quickly. We can easily get wrapped up in routine, but if we consciously take time to remember to show our love to others on a daily basis, we are gifting those around us and ourselves as well.
So this Valentine’s Day I challenge you to not only shower your loved ones with your feelings of love and gratitude, but to also remember to honor them on a regular basis, because they are deserving of it.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Where there is love, there is life”. Happy Valentine’s Day!