Since this column prints during the holiday season, I’ve decided to write about the greatest gift we an give, love. Experiencing love can make you feel better because it causes you to release endorphins. In a day and age where prescribed anti-depressants are top-selling drugs, a little love can go a long way.
If you think about it, hearing “I love you” is important but it really must be supported with actions. For example, when you arrive home, your dog shows you love at the front door. It licks you, jumps all over you and wags its tail so hard it could break a hip. It never says the word love, but is there any doubt in your mind how much you are loved by your pet? Likewise, your dog could care less if you say “I love you” a thousand times because this feeling is demonstrated when you give it a pat, a belly scratch or a doggie bone. Do you see now that love has to be supported by actions in order for the feeling to be conveyed?
When you experience loving thoughts, feelings or memories, your heart rate and breathing patterns improve. Brain waves deepen and intensify too, and the positive effects of relaxation, meditation and focused positive thinking has been well studied. For sure, feeling loved by those around me gives me longer-lasting euphoria than any drug I can think of.
Most of us believe that we act kind and loving throughout the day, but do we? Take notice of your own attitude while you’re driving, shopping, or checking out. Some relatives or friends end their phone call or visit saying “love you” yet they show little interest or compassion for your life. Sometimes they only act nice when they need something. Do these people honestly love you, or do they just say they do? Actions speak louder than words.
Let’s express more kindness to people instead of behaving as if we are the stars of our own movie and everyone else is just an extra. If we didn’t use the word for a day, but relied solely on our behavior, would people walk away from us feeling loved? Some might. Recently, I gave a hand-made gift to a person who works at a local shop. She always has goodness emanating from her when I check out. My gesture was to say thank you for being such a beautiful soul though I never said that, nor did I say I loved her. She became teary-eyed and hugged me long and hard. She may have received the present, but I got the gift. The story of your life eventually gets summarized to a dash between two very important dates. Make that dash matter because it is what everyone will remember about you. So what is my prescription for you? Just love.