It’s Valentine – the season of red roses and love notes, when we express to our dear ones how much they mean to us and how grateful we are to have them in our lives. Now is the time we do that affectionate dinner, exchange those amazing gifts, and undertake that vacation we could only dream of (thank God this year’s Feb. 14 falls on a weekend). There’s something else you have to do however; try extending your acts of love and kindness beyond those with whom you have a personal or intimate relationship. After all, what’s the season for if not spreading love all over the place?
How to spread Valentine’s love can be a difficult task. It’s not because we don’t love enough—quite the opposite— but because we are often at a loss on how to help others feel loved.So, to help you find the best way show love to those whom you may not even know, here are five tips that will cost you very little but gain a lot for you and the recipients of your kindness.
1. Adapt simple friendly gestures
Friendly gestures like saying “hello” with a smile are so powerful, they can brighten the day of a person going through tough times. What’s more, a smile doesn’t cost a thing, actually it is medically recommended.There are other simple gestures you can adapt this season, like giving up your seat in a crowded bus to an elderly or visibly weak person or helping someone who is lost to his destination, even though you are rushing. Driving? Let a fellow driver (or drivers) merge into your lane. You could also offer to pay the toll fee for the driver behind you. Again, what is kindness if not paying the toll for someone?
2. Spend a day with those in desperate need of company
Orphanages, homes for the old, and hospitals are among the best places to show love and care. However, we often stick to the routine of donating money and gifts, and taking a few pictures. Why not spice it up by spending quality time with those in care homes? Sure spending money on them is very kind and important, but devoting a day to them would bring a great deal of happiness for people often locked to loneliness.
Your trip to an orphanage couldn’t be more perfect if you go there and spend the day with the kids, singing rhymes and playing games with them. Don’t be scared to be rusty at it, mumbling through kid-songs you last heard decades ago will always be allowed. You could also offer to do some basic care for them, like feeding them, bathing them or washing their clothes. Same thing applies, if you choose to visit an old people’s home. There is really no difference between little children and old people they say, maybe except in the nursery rhymes part.
3. Try pro bono
Although pro bono isn’t so popular in this part of the world, it’s still a fantastic way to touch the life of a person in need by using our acquired skills or talents. As a doctor or health professional, a day of free medical consultancy for a local community or neighbourhood would be a perfect act of love. A lawyer? Try free legal services for someone in need of an attorney but cannot afford it.
We have all got someone who could benefit from our professional service, even if that service looks as mean as being a prison warden, a free honest errand for a prisoner won’t hurt.
Volunteering for community service or as a caregiver is also another form of pro bono. You could offer your free time to a local hospital or health centre, such places are often understaffed. There’s no doubt your hands, even if lacking any expertise, could be put to invaluable use when extending kindness to someone in dire need of it. Isn’t it lovely that this year’s valentine falls on a Saturday?
4. Get involved with your Favourite Charity
Take the leap from just donating to charity organizations to participating in the activities of at least one of them. As important as your money is to a charity organization’s humanitarian service, most are always in need of more hands. Even if your hand is not big enough to fill up their vacuum of need, it will sure make a difference. And you’ll be taking your spreading of love and kindness a step further. So, join your favourite Charity this love season, or find one that helps a cause you deeply care about; a cent of your time may be needed more than dollars.
These four tips are just drops in the sea of ways you can spread the flow of love this Valentine, there are several other things you can decide to do. So, get on the business of spreading the music of love to as many hearts as possible, like CNN’s Richard Quest would say, it’s such a profitable tune.