February is an odd month in my mind; neither winter nor spring, short and brutal, not warm or cool, it just sits there in the calendar. Then, slam in the middle of the month we have just one short 24 hours of pressure to tell one person that we love them, as if we haven’t done so for the other 364 days of the year.
As Valentine’s Day comes along, I, (along with a billion other singletons around the world), breathe a sigh and duck out heads as we see shop windows filled with love hearts for the first two weeks of the month. It’s not that I don’t love celebrating love, I just feel that we should show it every day to all around us.
Love comes in many ways and has many voices. Holding the door open for me when I was on my phone with a coffee in my hand told me that the gentleman had seen me, saw I needed a hand and cared enough to offer me one. Is that love? I would argue that it is - it’s caring for someone before yourself. It is loving your neighbour. If showing a caring, loving heart to others around us is that easy, it’s a wonder why we don’t do it more often?
If we take this idea of spreading caring hearts across our neighbourhood during the whole year, then we could do worse than taking note of The Five Love Languages from Gary Chapman. The concept that many people don’t hear the words “I Love You” in a vocalised way is not a new idea; there are four actions and one vocal principle if you want to let people know that you are loving them:
Words Of Affirmation: This is where someone really does hear it when you tell them that you love them! If you let them know that the colours they are wearing look great on them, that you appreciate that they put the washing away, or tell them that what they do is really blessing people, they will feel loved.
Acts Of Service: This is a great one because it’s so simple. You don’t have to refit a bathroom or landscape a garden; just hold a door open, fold a jumper, carry a bag or grab a napkin and mop up a coffee spill.
The Gift Of Touch: This doesn’t mean intimacy! A hand on the shoulder to say “well done”, or a simple “hello” can make someones week. I had a friend by me a voucher for a massage once and the fact that they knew I just needed hands on touch was amazing. Holding a friends hand, giving a really meaningful hug - it’s all great.
Giving Time: Some people feel cared and loved when they are given just 10 minutes of time to talk and feel listened to. Stopping at lunch time to check in, go for a walk around a park with a work colleague - it’s not rocket science, it’s simply giving someone time and an ear to listen.
Giving Of Gifts: Diamonds maybe a girl’s best friend, but a woman would also appreciate a flower picked from the garden; a token to say that you thought of her at some point in the day. Guys also hear that you care for them in this way too; a card written sating “I saw this and thought of you” may not be a Porsche, but it means so much.
All of these can be done for everyone around us; not just our partners at home. Friends, children, family members work mates; we all need some good quality love in our lives.
Check out Gary Chapman’s website and see which language you speak, or find out if you are multilingual. Enjoy a full year of love and appreciation and don’t just stick to 24 hours of over-hyped marketed love.