In honor of Valentine's Day- where do we need to show more love?
Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, a day when people in relationships give flower arrangements, boxes of chocolate and plenty of other items of affection to their significant other. Husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends absolutely need to do things to show love to one another. And in our everyday world, where do we all need to show love the most? Many people in this world feel like they don’t measure up, aren’t good enough and, worst of all, aren’t really loved by anyone.
A 2018 study by Cigna reported that 46% of Americans feel lonely all the time. If that’s the case in the greatest country in the world, imagine what the rate could be in other countries. With seven billion people on the planet, what a tragedy that somehow, someway, some truly good and decent people think they’re unloved. I think everyone has been in that situation before, and we all know it isn’t pleasant.
After all, the first thing God ever said was wrong in this world is for someone to be alone. Chances are, if loneliness is so common, some of our friends and family members may feel that way right now, even though we don’t know it.
So, what can we do If you Google something about showing love to others, you’ll find a litany of blogs suggesting different acts of kindness you can carry out on a day-to-day basis.
One that struck me from a list on the website “A Kind Journey” was this: “Be present with everyone you meet.” That may be one of the best, and perhaps the toughest, way to show love to other people. The world has never before been so connected and disconnected at the same time. Thanks to social media, people can talk to one another constantly, yet people seem to meaningfully communicate less than they ever have.
We focus on our phones when people are speaking, and even if we look them in the eyes, our minds are elsewhere. Anyone who has ever shown up to work tired knows it’s easy to be physically present and mentally and emotionally absent. So, yes, being an active, engaged listener when other people speak is something to work toward. I’ve struggled with it myself, but without fail, the most endearing and enlightening conversations come to those who listen intently. Perhaps someone you know needs to be heard today.
You can be the one to lend an ear. But do you know who else needs a little more love in this world? Maybe it’s you. Maybe you’re one of the more than half of Americans who don’t love themselves all the time, according to a 2021 research study.
Partly because of the pandemic, people were isolated more. Something ironic happened. While people were home, alone by themselves, they focused on themselves more – and came to dislike themselves more. Pointing out our own flaws and dwelling on them is easy when we have no one to help us see the good in our lives.
Yes, it’s essential that we learn to love ourselves before we can truly loving others. And the greatest teacher of love, without a doubt, is Jesus, who said in Mark 12:31 that famous proverb about loving thy neighbor as thyself. It’s a timeless truth that we would do well to follow today. The YouVersion Bible App put it this way in an email on Monday: “When we choose to respect and value ourselves, we choose to honor God. … When you see yourself the way God sees you, you can love others the way God loves you.”
Again, I’m as guilty as anyone of not doing that. So, how can we learn to do better? YouVersion suggests making time – not “finding” spare time – to spend with God in prayer, asking Him to show you how He sees you. Next, making time to rest is a critical step. And finally, doing things that renew the mind and body are key steps to loving yourself. Another good point might be this: Learn to respect yourself more by kicking to the curb the bad thought patterns, addictions and pet problems that keep you down on yourself. None of these problems is easy to get rid of, and people cannot do it on their own. If you need help, today is the day to begin seeking it. I would add to the list: Find a friend, family member or someone who loves you and spend some time with them.
A good word from a good friend makes the heart glad, we hear in the Good Book. If you don’t think you’ve got such a friend, today is the day to start making one. I’m not here to run down Valentine’s Day or send people in love on a guilt trip. My message is this: Let’s show every day to everyone. We all need a little more of it.
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