The sun has set on 2016! It’s been a rough year in the media and for many around the world. As we wake on January 1st, 2017, let us make this year, a year of LOVE. There are many small ways to spread love daily. Some take practice. Others are easy and fun! I’m not a fan of New Years Resolutions, but I do believe in a symbolic fresh start! Adopt one, or practice them all. There is sure to be at least one way you can help spread love all year long!
Love Yourself: New Years resolutions are commonly self improvement. Lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, etc. What if you changed the way you see yourself in 2017? Wake up every morning, look in the mirror and say “I love you!”…and mean it! When you love yourself, you make yourself happy and you become a priority to you. All the bad habits are easy(ish) to give up when you see yourself as worthy of love and happiness because you are finally comfortable admitting the root cause of the habit. Bad habits* are often crutches for something along the lines of stress, loneliness, boredom, low self esteem and self worth. When your love for yourself turns into belief in yourself, those little devils on your shoulder slowly fade away into the silence. Only when you love yourself can others truly love you.
Find Love Everywhere: In my low moments I judge others, or say something smart or mean-spirited in my head to make myself feel better. “What is she wearing?”, “That poor child, the mother doesn’t know what she’s doing!”. Can you tell what my top insecurities are? I try to catch it, and immediately find something beautiful in them, or turn my negative judgement into a positive impression or empathy. “She has a beautiful smile, look how confident she is!”, or “Parenting is so hard, I hope she gets a break later”. And then I force myself to smile, because I’m obviously feeling bad about myself. A game I like to play when I’m driving, or waiting in line is to think something nice about the next 5 people I see. I love to people watch. When you are looking for love and joy, you can find it in some awesome and raw moments. I also try to compliment people when I meet them. I use it as a way to help create an association to them so I remember their name, Sarah with the shoes, Bob’s blue eyes, etc…
Give Love: During the Holidays we say, “it’s better to give than to receive”, that is true all year long. It doesn’t have to be a pay-it-forward, but those are awesome for the person who receives! I’m not a church goer now, but back when I did attend, it was customary to give 10% of earnings back to the church. I still give 10% to my community. It can be in the form of monetary or physical donation, or it can be my time and contribution. Give, it will make you feel good, and will help someone who needs it!
Smile: Smiling is contagious! The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when you put a smile on your face! Get happy people! There really is so much to be happy about every day. You can make others smile by saying hello as you pass by, or open a door for someone. You don’t only make that person smile, you make everyone who sees the act of kindness smile too! That could be a lot of happy people!
Sing and Dance: Even if no one is watching! Singing and dancing put happy energy into the world and can give you a boost when you need it. If you are hurt or upset, give yourself some time, set a timer, then dance it out. I promise it works!
Speak in the Positive Tense: This is important! The way we talk to each other has long term effects. It is important that we lift each other. It is imperative that our children see that we support each other, and that we are happy. We have a tendency as a community to speak in the negative. This is something I have practiced for many years now, and I see it come into play in the parenting world a lot. Here are some examples:
- “No Worries” – double negative, instead “All good”
- “Stop that!”, instead “Please do THIS”
- “Lose weight” – lose is negative, instead “Be healthy/skinny/fit”
Open Your Mind and Your Heart Will Follow: This year our eyes were shocked to see how much judgement and separation there is in our country. There is no one way to be a good human being. We all have different expectations and standards of ourselves as people in the community. If you can remember to only hold yourself to that expectation you will have more compassion for those who are not to your standard. Every home has different needs and values. We are most likely working toward getting to the same end goal. While our paths may differ, they might cross, and when they do, if we have no interest in their path, we should still wish them well on their journey and hope to see them on the other side.
Join me in making 2017 a year of love! Share your moments of love with us on instagram #morelove2017