For today’s installment of Hey, Abby! I am not going to include a reader question. Instead, I am offering a list of 11 ways you can send out love into the world. It’s February after all, the month of love and heart disease prevention month. It’s an important topic because love is vital to our wellness. The opposite of love, dislike or even hate, creates dis-ease in our bodies which ultimately leads to disease…hence heart disease prevention month. You may not realize they have a connection, but they go hand in hand. Live in love and prevent disease.
- CREATE LOVIN’ (loving) TIME
This one is personal. My wife and I started lovin’ time with our dog when she was a puppy. She loves and craves attention and so in a moment when she was more needy than usual, we would holler “LOVIN’ TIME” and run and jump on the bed with her. We would scratch her belly, give her kisses and play with her. It happened on a daily basis. It became our time to connect with our fur baby, but also with each other. It was usually the catalyst to something fun to talk about or do. It made us all happy. Fast forward to now, and we have a young son. We have continued the tradition of lovin’ time with him and now HE is the one that runs through the house screaming “LOVIN’ TIME” at the top of his lungs. We all jump on the bed, including the dog, and hug, kiss and love on each other. The key here is that when anyone in my family calls for lovin’ time, we stop whatever we are doing and join in. That’s because it’s so important to recognize we love each other in a meaningful way and for the other person to know they matter. It’s connects us and sometimes, lessons any tension or conflict. I encourage you to find your own version of lovin’ time with your loved ones. It’s a genuine way to send out love and laugh a little as well.
We are connected to every living being on this planet, and we are all connected to the universe. It’s easy to take on the pain and suffering in the world when there is so much of it surrounding us. These are troubling times. Do you often feel negative or overwhelmed just by being around others? Because we are all connected, you feel the pain and suffering. Through meditation you can begin to raise your vibration to a positive tone and set the standard for the rest of the world. You can send out love, light and kindness to everyone from your little spot in the world.
- RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
You’ve heard this one before, but it’s valid. By doing something kind for another person you not only lift that person up, but it lifts you up as well. And kindness is love.
Do a small experiment. Don’t smile at anyone through the day and see how many people
actually smile at you. Chances are, it won’t be many. Be the first to send loving kindness to someone else through your smile. Be the change.
- COMPLIMENT OTHERS
I’m going to use my mom as an example here. My mother has beautiful silver/gray hair. Up until a few years ago, she has colored her hair my entire life. Brown, red, blonde, you name it. I have even helped her a time or two color it. She finally reached a point that there was just too much gray to cover and she had all the color striped from her hair. She decided to embrace the gray, but the bonus is that the silver hair is GORGEOUS! Out of all her color choices, it’s one of my favorites. She on the other hand, has cried over it many times. She doesn’t see the beauty in it like we do. She only sees age. But, because it’s so beautiful, she actually gets quite a few compliments on it. They have helped her embrace it more. You have no idea what a compliment will do for another person. If you see something genuinely interesting or beautiful in someone, tell them. (P.S. Mom, your hair is BEAUTIFUL! I hope you passed on amazing silver hair to me!)
How does taking care of yourself send out love to other people? Well, refer to the cliches “you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself,” or “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” It’s true, one of the best ways to love others is to first take care of you. There are a variety of ways, pick one (i.e. meditate, exercise, eat well, get a message, read a book, craft, take a class, listen to your favorite music, shop). Spending time on yourself fills you up in order to give to others.
We are all wells of knowledge. Teaching offers an opportunity to give that knowledge to someone else and that’s empowering. I’m not just talking about teaching in a classroom, although it can be that. I am also talking about teaching your grandma how to use her flip phone, teaching your child how to bake cookies, or sharing a life experience with friends. Teaching shows someone that you care enough about them to give them that same knowledge.
A home cooked meal equals comfort. That’s why for so long when someone has passed or is sick, there are always meals brought to the family. It’s a sign that you care. That you want their bodies to be nourished while their hearts ache. Cooking a meal is also a way to show someone how you feel about them, like a new love or a new friend. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I don’t cook, but I love to bake bread. It’s easy and delicious and always makes someones day.
Too often advice is dispensed rather hastily. Even I am guilty of it. While someone is telling me about their experience, I’m already formulating a way to help them. But sometimes, the best thing we can do is just listen. Don’t try to solve the problem or try to prove them wrong. Simply listen. Most of us just want to be heard.
- OWN IT
Last night I went to the gym for yoga class. I turned into the parking lot and instead of paying attention, I was looking for a place to park. I turned a corner and didn’t look until the last minute. Another car was coming down the street. I’m not certain who had the right of way, but I pretty much cut him off. My reaction was to blame him. He was going way too fast. Had he been driving slower, I would have seen him and been able to acknowledge him. Then, as I stepped out of my car, I chose to own it. I wasn’t paying attention. No matter how fast he was or wasn’t going. I wasn’t mindful. I gave him a quick I’m sorry for cutting you off wave and smile and it immediately defused it. Owning it sent love and not conflict. Owning it means knowing that you can only control your business. Not the business of the other person. When you can recognize your part in any conflict and acknowledge it, you immediately send out love.
- PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Studies show that expressing gratitude for yourself and for others vastly improves your happiness. Your happiness lends itself to loving others. See # 2, 6 and 10. Start a daily gratitude practice by writing down five specific things each day for which you are grateful. Another idea is to show someone else you are grateful for them. See #1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9.