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Notes from Cara

17 Feb 2015

Post-Valentine’s Day Love

Valentine’s Day was last week, which means that this week I am left wondering why on earth I had to buy so many discounted boxes of chocolates (80% off in the post-holiday sale!!) and how in the world my yoga pants seem to have shrunk two sizes since then.

I’m also left thinking about love, that wonderful, confusing, exciting, terrifying, enlightening, magical thing. Valentine’s Day is a whole 24 hours devoted to it, but shouldn’t we celebrate it every day? I’m not saying that stores should always be covered in hot pink hearts and creepy Cupid cut-outs, or that candy hearts should always my go-to snack. I just think that love is something we should celebrate, embrace and encourage every day.

You don’t need a glitter-covered Valentine’s card to show love. Try these seven suggestions instead – they work year-round!

1. Give a genuine compliment. While it’s nice to hear “great hair!” or “nice tie!” every once in awhile, go for something a bit deeper. Compliment your super funny friend on her great sense of humor, tell your mom how selfless you think she is or let your coworker know you think he is a great leader.

2. Listen! Listening is a great way to show someone you love them. Don’t use their time speaking to form your own opinion; really focus on their words and the meaning behind them.

3. Give respect. You can’t love someone if you don’t respect them. Remember that everyone you meet plays a role in your life, and treat them that way.

4. Encourage them. Everyone needs support, and there are few things more powerful than words of encouragement.

5. Say thank you. Gratitude is another form of love, and saying those two little words can mean the world to someone.

6. Reach out. Don’t spend your life waiting for other people to contact you. Instead, build relationships and show people you care by reaching out to them. Invite a long-lost friend to lunch or surprise your Grandma with a call one afternoon. They will be touched by the effort you made to connect.

7. Give time. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone. Have a friend who needs help moving? Volunteer to pack boxes and haul furniture. Does your elderly neighbor have trouble raking the leaves? Spend a Sunday morning doing it for him. Does your little brother struggle with math? Help him with his homework this week. Don’t wait for them to ask; if you see a need, show your love by fulfilling it.