Valentine's Day is upon us, and many of you will want to prepare an extravagant dinner or shower your loved one in treats, sweets, and goodies. And I'm all for that. I'm half Italian and half German – I'm pretty much programmed to love others with food! But what if your loved one is working on a weight loss or “cleaner” eating goal? Would your love for them with food really be showing love and support? Possibly, if it's a well-prepared meal of food that fits the bill. Or possibly not. Or maybe you don't even know how to cook something or want to figure out what this week's nutrition goal is for your loved one. Fair enough. I want to take this time to share with you some ideas I have for showing your love that don't involve food.
1. Frame a favorite photograph.
Chances are, most of the photos you're sharing together are either online or simply trapped in a digital purgatory. Print a favorite photo and bring it to life! You can either print something at home on a color printer, at a local drug store, or send it through an online service if you have some more time. If you're feeling even more motivated, you can get a bunch of photos together from an event, trip, or time together and make them into a book. Both iPhoto and Blurb offer great printing options and I'm sure there are many others as well!
2. Share your talents.
Are you a great painter? Can you sing? Or play music? Maybe you can help someone update their website, or show them how to do something they've been wanting to learn. Express your talents and make use of the skills you have by sharing them with someone or teaching someone else how to have them too.
3. Give hugs (or kisses – or both).
Hugs (and kisses) are free to give and have limitless reserves. Why not share them more often?
4. Lighten a load.
Are there chores or tasks that your loved one typically does in his or her day that you could do instead for a change? Lightening the load on your loved one's back is a great way to show that you care that his or her time is freed up for something more enjoyable – perhaps a yoga class, or just some downtime. Whatever your loved one decides to do with that free time – allow it to be without interruption.
5. Create a collage.
I think I must have made collages at least once a year as a kid. I remember loving to peel through magazines and find things that I thought were cool or special, clipping out photos and words, and pasting them to a poster board or piece of paper. What if someone handed you a collage all of photos and words that reminded them of you? Pretty sweet, huh?
6. Listen well.
You have conversations with your loved one often, but how many times are you listening – I mean, really listening? Have a conversation with your loved one and tune in – make sure he or she is heard well – and given time to say what he or she wants to say. Everyone wants to be heard, but often we simply don't listen well enough to make this happen.
7. Offer your time.
Perhaps you want to help out your loved one, but aren't sure what would be the most appreciated use of your time. In this case, simply offering up a chunk of your time to whatever it is that your loved one wants to do is a fantastic way to show you care. With this gift of time, it's important that you not attach any strings or hold any expectations about what it will be used for – that wouldn't be fair! Offer your time and show up with an open mind and a loving attitude. Whether you end up at a movie, a shopping mall, running errands, or maybe right at home on a couch with a good movie, valuing your loved one's choice in how to share your time is a fantastic gift.
8. Say how you feel.
This really should go without saying, but we often hold back from saying how we feel for no good reason. Express yourself verbally – either in writing or by saying it out loud – a simple “I love you” goes pretty darned far.
How do you show love to others without involving food?
Tell me about it in the comments below.