Ever heard the story of Bishop Valentine? The most widely known theory behind the origin of Valentine’s Day… ?
Just in case, here’s the short version:
Emperor Claudius II didn’t want Roman men to marry during the war. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. Valentine was eventually arrested; and before he was executed, he wrote a letter from jail signed “from your Valentine”. In 1537, King Henry VII officially declared February 14 the holiday of St.Valentine’s Day in honor of this extraordinary sacrifice for love.
It’s true that the holiday has an unsettling, dark side to its past. But it all started with an ultimate act of selflessness. That is something beautiful and worth celebrating! Here are 5 considerate ways that you can show some love this Valentine’s Day. (Of course, we won’t take it quite to the extreme that St.Valentine did.)
- Send a Valentine card to your local hospital. You would be amazed how happy a random gift from a stranger can make a person. St. Jude Children’s Hospital allows you to send a virtual Valentine’s Day card to their patients straight from their website at www.stjude.org. You can also look at your local hospital’s webpage, as many of these facilities give instruction on how you can send a gift or card to their patients.
- Give some affirmation. Words of affirmation are one of the five ways to best express and experience love according to Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages”. It’s not always easy to find the right words, but it’s worth taking the time out to stop and comment on how someone else enriches your life or the lives of others. People deserve and need to be reminded of their positive traits not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day!
- Pay it Forward. Yes, when you decide to pay for the order behind you in the drive thru, you’ve paid it forward. Remember that there is an endless number of ways you can respond to one’s kindness by being kind to someone else. Plus, if you’ve seen the movie you know that to ‘Pay it Forward’ means you should do three good deeds for three people, and then those three people do three good deeds, and so on. You could buy someone else’s coffee, give up your place in line at the grocery store, offer some of your time to help someone else… get creative with your kindness!
- Volunteer. Is there really any way to talk about selfless acts without mention of charity work? It’s probably the best way to show your love for others on a humanitarian level. Donating time at a senior living community, giving out food or clothes to the homeless, signing up to help your local animal shelter; these are just a few ways you can volunteer. Search “places to volunteer” on Google to find a list of local non-profit organizations where you can go.
- Give a gift that has a unique meaning. Don’t get it twisted. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s? There is just an extra special element to a gift that is sensitive to your interests and passions. Attuning to what makes people feel loved is key when it comes to being generous. Enjoy spending a little extra time to see that look on their face.
Regardless of how you choose to spend this holiday; try not to get too distracted by all the jewelry commercials and restaurant ads, and remind yourself (and someone else) that Valentine’s Day is a day for celebrating love, and that is a wonderful sentiment!