On a grey December night, a friend and I went to a cozy French restaurant for some live music that dreamt us away to sweet Parisian settings. Glam'd up and dancing to French love songs, we came up with the idea to take each other out on Valentine's day and celebrate love and appreciation.
We didn't want to spend another February 14th complaining about the commercialization of love and miss out on acknowledging love even for ourselves. As corny as it sounds, we were excited, so we started to play around ideas enthusiastically.
Looking for a cute restaurant within a reasonable budget however, proved to be intricate as many places had ridiculously-priced Valentine's menus, specific sitting hours and we started losing hope. Seeing all the mayhem and the anxiety of doing something worth-the-while, our romanticism got kind of...turned off.
We soon realized what we already knew; that love doesn't need a specific holiday to be expressed or shown. Sure, the concept of having a day dedicated to loving, sounds wonderful, yet we can all agree that it's turned into a slight emotional manipulation (dare I say so) by businesses urging people to demonstrate how much they love someone.
So instead, I'm proposing that we all aim to experience love every day of the year, through many different scenarios. Here are 14 ways how:
- Write a gratefulness letter to yourself or to others and if you want to go a step further, give it to them.
- Buy someone flowers for no reason at all, just because they're pretty (the flowers, not the person)
- Hug longer. Did you know that the average hug lasts about a mere three seconds? That's barely anything, so hold and squeeze longer. Why? This article will show you seven benefits hugging has on our psychology and physical health.
- Listen to your grandparent's stories, even the repeated ones you've heard a million times. It's their caring way of sharing.
- Give yourself some credit and write down what you love about yourself. It'll be uplifting to see your reasons on paper and you can go back to it when you're feeling a little blue.
- Write down what you love about your partner or your friends as a way of appreciation and perhaps give it to them to share the love.
- If writing isn't your thing and you're one of the lucky ones that is bold in their self-expression, then vocalize your love. To your family, your partner, yourself, even to the one you are nervous to.
- Take care of your body and treat it with love. Have a candle-lit bubble bath or go for a massage to show your body that you take the time to nurture it. This will also help release stress and boost your mood.
- Be kind to strangers, smile, say please and thank you and they might pass it on. Imagine if we lived in a society where people were compassionate and giving without the expectation of receiving!
- Spend more time with people you love and who make you happy. Cook with a friend while you finish that bottle of wine, go out for dinner and laugh your hearts out, make time to see that friend you never meet up with, stay up late and chat.
- And when spending time with others, put your phone away so are you fully in that moment and not distracted by buzzing notifications.
- Stop using screens and electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed to prepare for a good night's sleep. A high use of technology in bed can have mental and physical effects on us, read this to understand why and how it works.
- Get in touch with your body and show it some self love without shame or judgment.
- When someone gives you a compliment accept it and say thank you without feeling the obligation of returning one.
Love and care are emotions that start from within and it's practices like these that can help feel closer to the notion of loving daily and not only on a specific day in the year. Don't wait until next February. May this post be a reminder and a boost that we can find and create love in life's small actions.
If you have other ways of living this or have tried some of the above suggestions and want to share how they made you feel, let's chat and explore them!