With tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, there couldn’t be a better time to talk about love, right?
Before I start, let me make one thing clear: I’m not talking about love in terms of having a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife (or fiancé 😉 ), I’m talking about it in a completely different space.
Yes, even you people who are single and despise Valentine’s Day will be able to take something out of this.
What is love?
(Baby. don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt, me no more.)
Okay, I lied—I am going to talk about the love involving significant others, but only for a second. I promise.
When someone mentions the word “love” it’s pretty common that your first reaction is to think about happy couples—holding hands, spending time together, laughing, going on dates, and so on. You know, that mushy, makes-some-people-sick type of love.
Your second reaction is most likely family. Maybe you think about the unconditional love a parent has for a child, the love (that sometimes feels like hate) someone has for his or her siblings or the you-can-do-no-wrong-in-my-eyes love a grandparent has for a grandchild.
That’s the love we all think of, because that’s the love we feel. You know that love exists because you physically say it. You tell your significant other you love them, you say “Love you” when you leave your parents’ house and you end a phone conversation with your grandparents with “I love you.” (And melt when your little Italian grandma says, “I love you so much, bella.”)
We hold that love near and dear to our hearts. We can all relate to that love in some way or another.
But, there’s another form of love that we can all relate to, maybe even more than the first one. Would you believe me if I told you it involved complete strangers? Some of which you’ll probably never see again?
In my mind, showing care for a person is the same as showing love for a person. It’s not necessarily the level of love we show for significant others, parents, children or other family members, but it’s love, nonetheless.
It can be as simple as smiling at someone as you walk past, helping a stranger pick up a stack of papers she dropped or telling the barista at Starbucks to have a great day (and mean it). These little things show that you care about someone enough to take time out of your day to make them feel good, even if it’s only a second or two.
Spread the love this Valentine’s Day
So, I’m going to give you a challenge. Tomorrow, take a few moments throughout the day to spread the love to complete strangers. Don’t know how? Let me give you a few ideas, ranging from “Even the busiest person can do this” to “Wow, you’re going above and beyond”:
- Smile at someone when you walk by
- Ask the person in the elevator with you how their day is going
- Tell the cashier ringing you out to have a great day
- Give someone a compliment
- Offer to help your coworker with something at work
- Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru
- Volunteer somewhere you feel passionate about (Animal shelter, park clean-up, soup kitchen, etc.)
- Donate to a charity that means a lot to you
You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel doing the things on this list. Not only will you be spreading love to others, but you’ll be making the world a better place in the process, because when you make someone’s day, they’re likely to do the same to someone else.
(You know, like paying it forward at the drive thru.)
Just one more thing—in between doing some of these things on the list, make sure to tell the people who mean the most to you that you love and care about them.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
(P.S. If you’re not sure what to get your significant other for Valentine’s Day, chocolate covered strawberries are always a winner.)