By Kylie Keisling
I must admit, I love Valentine’s Day. I enjoy the cheesy cards, the candy, but most of all I love intentionally loving and being loved by others. Often, I hear critics of Valentine’s Day say well “I don’t need a special day created by Hallmark to show my loved ones I care”. While this is true and the business side of Valentine’s Day is real, I believe this reaction misses the point of the day. Valentine’s Day isn’t about spending money to show your love, it’s about being intentional about showing your love. I believe we can all use more intentionality in our lives, especially when it comes to showing our loved ones we care. This Valentine’s Day I encourage you to be intentional in showing your love. Here are a few tips for how to show all your loved ones, family, friends, kids, or your partner, that you care.
- Take, “I love you”, a step deeper and share the specifics of why you love them. The more exact the better. We all desire to be known, for someone to pick up on the details of who we are. When we are intentional with our words it shows that we have put thought in, and knowing that someone notices you is powerful all in itself. For example, instead of saying “I love you” you can add, “I love that you are so passionate about your career, it is evident that you care deeply about making this world a better place.” Or turn a simple observation into a point of connection, “I love how you are so creative when you buy groceries and keep meals fun for our family”.
- There’s a reason so many romantic movies include love letters. When we put our thoughts down on paper there is a shared connection and intimacy as we read our loved ones’ thoughts. Letters are a wonderful way to show you care. Letters are intentional by nature. The simple act of having your loved one in mind while writing the letter is a great act of love. My dad started writing letters to me and my sisters when I left for college. Every week I look forward to getting his letter in the mail, and I will always cherish these letters because they are an act of great love.
- Dr. John Gottman, a renowned Marriage Therapist and researcher, uses the phrase “small things often”. When we look back on the moments we’ve felt most loved in our lives they are not often full of grand gestures but meaningful everyday moments. These moments are usually full of intentional time together infused with spontaneity, creativity, and purpose. This Valentine’s Day I encourage you to turn an ordinary moment into something meaningful. For example, making your reunions special. Imagine the joy you would feel if after a long day, or time away from a loved one, they ran to you with a big smile on their face and shared how happy they are to see you. I think of how the father ran to the prodigal son upon his return, what a loving image! Or imagine you are going for a walk with a friend and they bring you a caramel latte, the same kind you drank together for late night study sessions in college. Love is in the details.
This generous, meaningful, and intentional love is healing. Being open to giving and receiving love is key to unlocking true joy and happiness in this life. As a counselor, communication and relationships are areas I help my clients work through. If you would like to dive deeper into how to love yourself and others or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.