Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo
Too often in life, we are busy going through the routine of the mundane, and we take life’s little pleasures for granted, including the people in our life. This month always feels like a time to celebrate love, but not necessarily in the commercial sense. This season I decided to take some time to shower the people in my life with love and I want to invite you to do the same.
First of all, it is always a fun exercise for you and those you love to find out your “love language”. If you’re not sure what this is, check out Gary Chapman’s book or simply take the quiz on his website. The five categories or love languages that he defines are words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and acts of service. Once you know how your loved ones best receive, it is easier to give. Yet even if you don’t go the love languages route, there is still so much you can do.
Here are some of the things I intend to do for my loved ones this season:
Showering my toddler with love: What toddlers really want is your presence. And not the kind of presence where they’re looking at the back of your phone, or competing with your monkey mind but true, uni-focused, uninterrupted presence. Positive Parenting Solution’s founder Amy McCready calls it Mind, Body, Soul time. During this mind, body, soul time, which can last as little as ten minutes, you are doing something that your child wants to be doing–allowing them to call the shots and fully engage with their chosen activity. My goal is to do this daily for my daughter this month and hopefully take this habit with us beyond.
Showering my husband with love: My husband always takes on the financial planning for our family which can be a burden for him (and brings up feelings of inequality for me) so to show him love this month, we are starting financial planning dates. To sweeten the deal, I am committing to making a healthy dessert for these dates and we are going to meet and discuss our finances, budget, and anything else that feels relevant. If we finish up early and aren’t too tired, we can sneak it a Netflix show or two, but this is a good way to show him love by lessening the burden of our family’s finances and helping stay on track with our commitment to healthy eating.
Showering my friends with love: I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life, so I have been making an effort to check in with them about things that matter to them. Nowadays it is so simple to send a quick text message and check in. I also am committing to sending out more snail mail because who doesn’t love a good handwritten card?
Showering my students with love: What I think my students want more of is social time and new experiences, so to show them love I am going to plan one last major field trip before I go out on maternity leave. Experiences make memories, and having a little extra social time is definitely my student’s love language.
Showering my clients with love: I recently read Emily Ley’s Grace Not Perfection and one section that I thought was particularly beautiful was the idea that when you have a business, customer service provides a way for you to shower your people with love. Going off of her life-giving idea, I wanted to take some time to share the love with my clients this month, so I am having them fill out a survey on their love language and how they best receive. Then I will send them something small and meaningful from there. It is like a more focused random act of kindness.
None of these things take much, yet they give so much to both you– the giver– and the recipient. So this Valentine’s Day season, forget all of the commercial stuff and lead with love for those in your life.