4 Ways to Love Humanity More this Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day might be a celebration of love, but who says the focus has to fall on the romantic sort alone. The ancient Greeks defined many different types of love, one of which is agape, a concept that bears resemblance to the Buddhist notion of Metta. Agape is an unconditional universal love, expressed through kindness, compassion and charity. It’s considered to be the purest form of love, and if you ask me, it’s the sentiment we should most be celebrating on Valentine’s Day.
Romantic love comes easy to most, but boundless benevolence is something we have to practice.
With this in mind, I’ve struck the rose-tipped arrow through 4 ways we can all express unconditional love for humanity this 14th of February.
How often have you thrown your hands up in the air out of frustration when someone cuts you off in traffic? Or responded curtly when a colleague asks you the same question for the fifth time? Annoyance is a natural human response when things don’t go our way or when other people get between us and the million things we have to do.
But as you already know, love is patient, and practicing tolerance in the face of irritation is a great way to express compassion on Valentine’s Day, and every other day for that matter.
So, take a deep breath, wait quietly in queues without kicking up a fuss, and respond gently when someone asks for help, no matter how trivial their request may feel. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give another is our genuine time and uninterrupted attention.
We tend to think of ourselves first. When faced with the opportunity to lend a helping hand, we often first weigh up whether we have the resources, the time, the ability to contribute. This Valentine’s Day, do away with calculated generosity and teach yourself to give freely, without hesitation. Taken literally, this could mean sparing some change on the street when you see someone in need, but it also entails giving of yourself in other ways: assist a colleague with a task they’re struggling with, compliment a friend or drop a meal off at the home of an acquaintance who is pressed for time.
Too often we encircle ourselves in negativity – horrific newspaper headlines, people grumbling about the state of the economy, endless complaints on social media… Just think about how much light you could bring to the lives of those around you by shifting the narrative to focus on the positives, the experiences that add to our lives, the many ways we’ve been blessed.
As an act of love for others, check yourself before you say anything cynical, and make a concerted effort to bring the attention of those around you to the good in life. You never know what an uplifting Tweet or Facebook post might do for the psyche of your community.
Turn positivity into a playful act by getting hold of your own Game For Humanity kit.
Become a Volunteer
In the same way that romantic love shouldn’t only be celebrated on Valentine’s Day, altruism shouldn’t be limited to special occasions either.
To sustain a pattern of kindness and compassion, why not commit yourself to an ongoing volunteering opportunity that draws on your passions and skills. It might feel like a big step to take, but the rewards are endless, and you’ll find there are easy ways to integrate such acts of love into your everyday life.
Looking for ways to express your love for humanity beyond Valentine’s Day? Sign up to become a Brownie Points volunteer and you’ll be given plenty of opportunities to make a positive difference to the lives in your community.
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