When we think about love, the image that comes to mind for most of us is the romantic kind…but love is truly so much more and there are so many different ways to love! It can help us heal and it can bring the very best out of each and every one of us…but it takes work. This month of love and beyond, as we practice our “New year, New DO”, I encourage us all to take a step back and think about what love is and how we can become better lovers for ourselves and the people we care about.
Do Love Yourself
Recently I noticed my daughter, Sasha’s, new bedtime routine. After she finishes brushing her teeth before bed, she says to herself, “I love you” and blows herself a kiss. At first I thought she was just being silly, but then I thought, “This child is on to something! This is a self love lesson we could all learn from!”
Speaking of self love, did you realize that self care is an extension of it? That’s right, anytime you do something in the name of self care, you’re showing yourself some love. Now let me debunk the myth that self care is selfish. It’s not. It’s necessary and everyone deserves a moment to just focus on themselves. As women, we’re convinced that we can do it all…and we can. But we don’t have to do it all at once and we don’t have to do it alone.
- We’re allowed to ask for help, take breaks, and indulge in the things that we enjoy. Organizing my closet, taking long showers, having an at-home spa day, and taking naps are some things that I do when I need a break from the world. Think about what you truly enjoy and make time for it.
- So many of us wait around for someone else to buy us flowers or nice gifts, but why not take it into our own hands? Buy yourself that bouquet of flowers, book that spa day, treat yourself to a new bag, or take that Staycation that’s been calling your name. There’s nothing wrong with dating yourself and showing yourself the same love that you’ve been waiting to give to and receive from others. You deserve to be spoiled, to be pampered, and to be loved fully…even if it’s coming from YOU.
Do Know Your Love Languages
Your love languages are not just how you receive love, but also how you express love. Knowing your love languages is a major key because it helps you communicate what you need most emotionally. But, just knowing your love languages isn’t always enough. That’s where communication comes in. When you tell your loved ones what your love languages are, you make space to be loved the way you need to be loved. Your friends, family, or your partner will also know that when you say or do certain things, you’re really telling them you love them!
My love languages are gift giving and acts of service and whenever I’m trying to express my love for someone, it’ll typically show up through cooking a meal, sending an inexpensive, personalized gift, or even telling a funny joke to make them laugh!
Do “Date” Your Friends and Family
Now, don’t go getting involved with your best friend of ten years or your second cousin. This one is more about expressing love and appreciation for family and platonic friends.
- If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to hold near the people we love. We don’t always know what they’re really going through and how they’re really feeling…especially the strong friend…so be a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear and let them know you see and appreciate them. Consider their love languages and what they may need.
- The same energy you would put toward spending time with a love interest, can be put toward your homies too! Planning a date night for a special occasion or just because is a great way to show your friends that you love them. You can try a virtual throwback party where you go through photos from back in the day or just a cocktail hour over video call with my Dirty Shirley recipe. It could also be as simple as calling them to tell them how you feel.
Do Continue to Romance Your Partner
They say love is blind. If that’s the case, marriage is a real eye-opener! It has helped me realize that no matter how long we’ve been together, we should continue to date our partners. Now more than ever, it’s so easy for us to get swept up in life’s daily challenges, but that just means it’s even more important to remember who’s been by our side through it all!
Small gestures are just as meaningful as the grand ones, if not more, so think of the things that you can do to show your partner that you care. Washing the dishes, opening doors, making dinner, taking a moment to check in. These things may not seem like much, but in the grand scheme they are! Chances are you’re spending more time together through the pandemic, so there are so many opportunities to offer these small tokens of love every day.
If small gestures aren’t really your style, that’s okay too! The places you’d normally wine and dine your lover at are probably not operating regularly, so it’s time to get creative. Date nights can still be extravagant at home or outdoors, and gift-giving doesn’t always have to look like heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and bouquets of roses.
This year for Valentine’s Day, I decided to gift my hubby a pandemic-safe trip…nope, not a baecation…a solo trip. I wrote down a list of cities within driving distance and had him pick the city he wanted to visit. After that, I planned the entire trip for him to just get away…the hotel, the restaurants, all of it!
Now, it may seem backwards to be apart on a day like Valentine’s Day, but my husband deserves it. Again, we’ve been spending a lot of time together and he does a lot for our family without complaining. I watch him as he does everything in his power to make me and our children happy, so this is one way I can show that I see and appreciate him while he gets some time alone to recharge. Together or apart, our love is strong.
This month is all about love, so I encourage you to find new ways to love yourself and the people around you. You’ll find that it truly makes a difference in your life!