Every year without fail or forgetfulness we revere St. Valentine’s on the 14th of February. Nothing short of an annual ritual, we submit ourselves to the whims of capitalism and commercialism. We also sequester and shame singles for being…single. Valentine flexes are boasted about, memes are shared, content spewed, and self-deprecation checked.
But, who propagated that St. Valentine’s claim to fame was romantic, cheesy, corny love? Doesn’t focussing on only one kind of love feel restrictive and claustrophobic and something completely opposite of love? I don’t know a single man whose life was enriched this way.
So, starting this Valentine’s we’re making a list of 10 commandments on the various ways you can incorporate the magic of love in your life on a daily basis.
Be More Present
There is nothing like giving someone the gift of your time and attention. Like Jennifer famously serenaded us with, love really doesn’t cost a thing. Try and stop the practice of saying ‘How insane…’ ‘That’s crazy…’ after every few minutes while listening. It’s time to stop being robotic, because people do pick up on the nuances of micro-interactions. Ask them genuine questions that actually lead the conversation somewhere.
The Art of Paying Compliments
We all love and adore our friends no doubt and pay them compliments from time to time. However, don’t just restrict this habit to your close inner circle. Also, compliments that talk more about the garment or the accessory is no compliment at all. So, instead of saying that is a gorgeous dress, say that dress looks gorgeous on you, you’re really carrying off that dress like a boss, you look gorgeous in that dress, etc.
Interacting With Service Staff
Whether through parenting, schooling or Munnabhai MBBS, we’ve all been told to express gratitude and to use the magic words while interacting with wait staff, house help or office personnel. But that doesn’t do much to break class barriers, does it? So, when faced with the opportunity, don’t shy away from small talk. Ask them about their shift timing, how their day is going, wish them on festivals and so on.
Surprising Your Friends
Are birthdays the only time you surprise your friends? Well, that needs to change since your friends are your friends the rest of the year too. Surprise them with mini spoils and edible goodies if and when you go on vacation without them. You could also surprise them with their favourite iced coffee or a box of macaroons and get it delivered to their office. It’s honestly the sweetest gesture and makes them feel so noticed and validated, especially on bad days.
If you’ve had a great career, are at a good placement in the present moment, or if you’re just well versed with your industry, try your hand at micro mentoring. You don’t have to take classes or seminars for days or hours. Simply log in to your updated LinkedIn profile and make a point to answer questions and queries from youngsters seeking insider information about your industry.
Friends & Local Businesses
They say if you’re good at something, never do it for free. We say if you’re good at something you can dole out solicited free advice in pockets towards your friends starting out, or local businesses you’re passionate about. Make friends at friendly cafes that moonlight as culture hubs and set yourself lose. They could use your assistance with promotional activities, making flyers or something even more mundane, that wouldn’t take too much of your time but would really help them unburden just a wee bit.
Birthdays & Weddings
With social media being what it is today, it honestly doesn’t take much resource to find out whose birthday is in what week. Take some time out on weekends to get updated about who’s turning a year older that week. Don’t say HBD. Being warm is the new cool. Have a genuine wish ready.
Similarly, when you go to a wedding, don’t walk out without meeting the bride/groom’s parents or organisers. Thank them for having you, compliment the food, say your congratulations and compliments and only then leave.
Write Kind & Authentic Reviews
We’ve all had those moments where we’re shopping online and are utterly unsure about our potential purchase. But then a review comes out of nowhere and now you’re set straight about your decision. How grateful have we been to those kind souls reviewing and helping us save money or investing them in the right things. Whether you’re buying makeup or electricals, make sure you write authentic, contextual reviews if you like the product, and kind ones when you’re displeased.
Relevant & Seasonal Social Work
We all know how significant every small bit of social work is and the kind of joy it brings to our life. However, not all help reaches the right people. If you know pockets in your city that is a safe haven for impecunious folks facing homelessness, that’s where you can start. For every season you can buy a bunch of 50 odd things that would help them to get through it. It doesn’t have to be very expensive. For instance, you could distribute cheap raincoats during monsoon, water bottles and Parle G during summers and mufflers during winter.
Have a Warm Home
Lastly, but doubtless most important is self-love. You will only ever be capable of spreading love and joy if you feel those from within. So first, focus on yourself, on surrounding yourself with things that bring out your most authentic self. Put on music that thrills you, art on walls that soothes you and food that excites you. Self-love is the first step to a deeper understanding of the cosmos and its inhabitants.