We could all use a little more love. I believe that collective love is something that spirals up or down with the ebb and flow of society and current events- and that we tend spiral down when we need love to be at its all time high. And so, the first step in feeling a little more love from others might just be to send more of out into the world ourselves, without any expectations.
In fact, when I read the Five Love Languages, one of the biggest take-aways other than what the 5 love languages are, and which love languages I personally identify with (physical touch / quality time), was the implementation of showing others love in a practical sense. One case study showed that giving love in a manner that speaks to the receiver with no expectation for anything in return was the most effective way of changing the overall behaviors and roles within the relationship. And so, in a broader application, heightening the collective love of the world will require us to give first. No expectations for any return on investment.
As I covered earlier, my primary love languages are Physical Touch and Quality Time. So, I crave closeness with people and develop relationships by sharing experiences. In my list of ways to send out love, there are many that relate to this. But, I recognize that Gifts, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation are equally important to others. So if my quest is to send out love to all, then I need to cover all the bases.
I give hugs freely and liberally. I often touch on the shoulder or arm when I'm consoling someone. I am not uncomfortable whatsoever holding someone while they cry. My love language is physical touch, after all.
I take the time to really understand what people need. This serves me, of course, because then I don't waste time trying to make small talk with someone who is comfortable with silence. But, in exchange, I have a deep understanding for what that person will benefit from in our exchanges.
I focus all of my energy on listening first, and responding second. The world could benefit from a lot more listening and a lot less talking. <says the introvert>
I try to never be on the defensive. Always give the benefit of the doubt first and put myself in someone else's shoes whenever possible.
I look for opportunities to help people. I used to be terrible at this, because I am not a very observant person. But, I'm getting better - I have good intentions. Even a simple offer that's never cashed in can bring someone so much comfort when they know you have a genuine desire to help.
I teach fitness classes. There are many reasons for doing this, but my favorite reason is to spread the love of fitness, make gym-time something that people look forward to, so they can love on themselves some more.
I encourage self-compassion always, and never allow negative self-talk to be said aloud without questioning it.
I always try to assume the best in people, and if necessary, ask for loving clarification. It's easy to assume the worst and pout. It's harder to have a little perspective, assume that you could be wrong about your first impressions, and act with kindness.
I take things I believe in and I make them come alive. If you feel passionately about something, there is no greater gift to the world than to share it. This year, I have undertaken the challenge to start a non-profit organization to benefit something that I really believe in heart and soul.
I share my experiences both radically positive and horrendously negative, publicly. On the off chance that someone else who has endured the same experience as me might feel less alone. Counterintuitively, more love gets passed around when I get vulnerable and share the painful stuff.
If I feel it in my heart, I say I Love You. There's never a good reason to wait. There's never a good reason to stay quiet. Nothing bad can come of more I Love You's.
If you'd like to join in the #reverb17 project, we have started a facebook group where you can find all the details of each month's writing prompt. We have no requirements or expectations other than to give you a way to express yourself in writing on a regular interval. We post monthly (with some fun Instagram Challenges) from January through November, then have daily prompts in December to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the new year! Join us here!