With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is in the air. Although Valentine’s Day is very much a Hallmark holiday, I do appreciate the reminder to express love to the people in our lives.
But I want to take it a step further: let’s leave a little love wherever we go! Whenever we encounter another human, whether we know them or not, let’s make a conscious effort to show love through our words and deeds.
We all have the desire to be seen and acknowledged. We all long for human connection and kindness, but in this world we live in, sadly both of those things seem to be lost arts of the past. But we can bring them back! Will you join me?
Here are a few ways we can do this:
1. Show your pearly whites: One of the easiest ways we can show love is to smile! I make a conscious effort to smile at people whenever I make eye contact with them. Did you know that smiling is actually good for your own health and well-being? And not only that, but smiles are contagious! Of course, not everyone will smile back, but most of the time they will. When they don’t, I often say a quick prayer for them, attributing their lack of reciprocity as something going on in their life.
2. Say hello: Have you ever seen someone about to walk by you on the sidewalk or in an aisle at the grocery store and you come up with a way to avoid them? Maybe you pull out your phone and pretend to be looking at something or maybe you turn around and stare at the items on the shelf behind you. This is called communication avoidance.
Sometimes it seems easier or less awkward to avoid communication instead of acknowledging people. But since we’ve already decided that we’re going to leave a little love wherever we go, we’re going to stop doing that!
Next time, let’s keep our heads up high, look the person in the eye and say a quick “Hello” or “Good morning” to the person passing us by. It’s so simple, yet we often avoid it. Wouldn’t the world be a kinder place if we all acknowledged each other’s presence in this way?
3. Look for ways to help people: If you see a mom struggling with her kids and lots of their gear at a restaurant, take the initiative to open the door or grab her a stack of napkins, ketchup and straws. Now that my kids are in school all day, I make a conscious effort to look for moms I can help when I’m out and about.
Or help someone grab the item they can’t reach on the top shelf at the store. (I am in constant need of a kind stranger to do this for me!) Buy the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks. Strike up conversation with an elderly person. Give someone in the checkout line a coupon you aren’t using. The possibilities are endless!
We just never know what people are going through. We all carry around past hurts and current struggles. We should never underestimate how a kind word or simple gesture can reflect God’s love and positively affect the recipient.
So let’s be lavish with loving on others, not only around Valentine’s Day, but every day!
I’d love to hear about how you love on people after reading this post. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.