After two years of social distancing and canceled plans, we’re all due for a little extra love and connection. Days spent arranging and rearranging lives to navigate exposure notifications and life responsibilities, has left many hearts feeling tired and lonely.
Spending time surrounded by those we love doesn’t necessarily mean we’re connecting in love. As we celebrate the Month of Love, we invite you to carve out some intentional time to truly connect with the people in your life you care about most.
Here are four of our favorite ways to show love. They don’t cost money, but they do take time. So, we invite you to slow down and make time for what matters most.
Feeling known takes time. Ask them what’s on their heart and then listen. But, like, really listen. Find a place free of distractions, set the mental to-do list aside, and be truly present as they share.
Give them permission to just talk, without feeling like they need to share air-time. Tell them you want to know what they have to say. Invite them to go deeper by asking questions like “When you say X, what do you mean?” or “What are you not telling me because you don’t want to be a burden?” or simply “Tell me more.”
If you need a little nudge to get them talking, do a quick google search for conversation starters ahead of time or use these Big Talk Conversation Cards to create more meaningful connection. You might be surprised at what you learn.
Maybe you’ve learned to read each other’s minds. Maybe you’ve created a short-form communication style because your loved one can fill in the blanks on busy days. Maybe you think you’ve said all there is to say. But just as much as you want to listen to the one you care about, they want to hear from you. Being vulnerable and sharing the deepest parts of yourself builds intimacy and connection.
So talk. You don’t have to make a point. You don’t even have to make sense. Sharing your half thoughts and work-in-progress ideas shows vulnerability and trust, thus building an even more meaningful bond.
Let’s be real. We all need a little help. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. So, let’s just assume everyone is silently crying out for help these days, treading water until a rescue comes. Even the strong ones. Even the people who look like they’ve got it all together.
We need help with the dishes, connecting the computer to the printer for the 17th time, remembering if that meeting is on zoom or in person, knowing which type of apples the kids will actually eat, and finding that missing sock.
Asking how you can help is a start. But sometimes, it’s too hard to ask for help. So, maybe ask them what’s bugging them, what’s keeping them up at night, what task/chore/clutter is silently nagging at them each and every day? Then work to solve that problem, or even part of the problem, for them. Even a little thing can feel like a big thing.
We all need more hugs. Big hugs. Long hugs. Even awkward hugs (as long as they’re consensual, of course). And while this is probably self-evident in the era of air high-fives and elbow-bump-greetings, we’ll still share some of the scientific benefits of hugging, because nothing is more romantic than science.
Hugging is known to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, release oxytocin (the love hormone), communicate emotions, improve conflict resolution (seriously!), boost the immune system, and help you feel young.
So get in there and give them a good long hug. Make it at least 20 seconds. Make it an act of love.
These are just a few of our favorite things to show love. What are yours?