I’m weary of assigning one day of the year to celebrate love. I’d like to re-frame Valentine’s Day a bit, if I may. How about if it’s one day of the year to be reminded how to stay loving? I believe that it’s in our words, thoughts, and actions that we truly express love. (Not so much in chocolates, flowers, or sexy…whatevers). When we really make the effort to be loving, we are being emotionally generous. I think this is what fuels a loving relationship throughout the years.
Some ideas to help love flourish through generosity:
Be generous with your assumptions. Try not to automatically assume that your loved one’s actions or words were ill-intended. Much of the time, mistakes are not intentional, let alone meant to be hurtful.
Be generous with your words. Provide words of support, validation, positive regard, and encouragement. Real generosity is giving of these freely. Don’t mix in criticism, which is for another time and should be used sparingly. Generosity is about uninhibited giving of positive feedback when you genuinely mean it.
Be generous with your thanks. It always makes others feel appreciated and often yields even more mutual giving. Even for the little things, take the time to give thanks on a daily, if not hourly, basis.
Be generous with your attention. Being present, not distracted, is a tremendously loving act. Be there with those you love. Don’t tune out with your computer, smart phone, tablet or television all the time. Take the time to be attentive. It’s probably the most loving way to be-open, available, listening and engaged.
Be generous with your warmth and affection. Whether it is eye contact, smiling, hugs, kisses, or touches, being warmly connected with body language and contact is another way to communicate your love.
What are your thoughts on how to be loving and generous this Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day seems like such a silly holiday. I think if you love someone you should tell them every single day, multiple times per day. Being present is so important too. I think that one is easy to forget. Great post!
Hannah hits the nail on the head be reminding us how wonderful it is to be “emotionally generous”. Man – we could all use a dose of that from those around us. I pledge to be “emotionally generous” with others – and maybe even myself – this week. Thanks, Hannah.
In reading these comments (thank you Jennifer and Bonnie!), I realize that this post is really just about how to treat everybody. Whether it is ourselves, our coworkers, our family members- all of these relationships benefit from emotional generosity.