February is the month of love, but it is kind of nice that it has become a month of all kinds of love, not just romantic love.
Romantic love is wonderful, of course. But not everyone has a romantic sweetheart, or maybe they’ve been married to their romantic sweetheart for 30 years and don’t muster up the lovey-dovey the way they used to.
Valentine’s Day has expanded over the years. It has become a time for parents to tell their kids they love them, and for teachers and their students to express care. It has become a time for the public to send notes to retirement communities. Our expressions of love have become more expansive.
Galentine’s Day on February 13 has become an important day for women to celebrate their female friendships, their girlfriends who have stuck by them even when their romantic relationships were on the rocks.
Even if you don’t buy roses and chocolates for others in February, it is a good idea to reflect on those you love and (hopefully) tell them why you love them. It’s also important to reflect on whether you are loving yourself as much as you love others. Empathy is not just something we need to show others. We must show more empathy for ourselves too. Parents of young children have an especially difficult time showing themselves empathy and love because raising children is exhausting; it is hard to carve out even one minute of time to focus on yourself. It’s hard, but necessary.
So here are some easy ways to show the ones you love how you feel, including yourself:
1–Say “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
2–Grab someone’s hand and squeeze.
3–Smile a genuine smile.
4–Find the humor in situations.
5–Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
6–Ask, “How are you?” And then stop to listen with your full self.
7–Read a book with your child (maybe Love Is or Heart by Deedee Cummings?)
8–Focus on something outside and see its beauty. (Yes, you can find it even in winter).
9–Stretch your body.
10–Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally would.
Showing love to yourself and others doesn’t have to be a big Instagram-worthy production. It can be small. It can be simple. As long as it’s sincere, that is the most important thing.