How to Love Harder
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the kind of person I want to be, and I set myself a simple goal: I want to love harder. I want to the kind of person that spreads love and light to those around me. I want my friends and family and even strangers to feel my love. I just want to be that person.
All of this sounds great, but it’s a lot harder to practice in everyday lie. Here are some ways I’ve found to love harder on those around you.
1) Compliment more.
This comes naturally to a lot of people, but I personally find it really awkward to stop someone and compliment them. However, this is such an easy way to show love. I’m trying to live by the motto if you’re thinking nice things, say them out loud! This often involves telling strangers that I love their hair or outfits. It’s easier to compliment those that we know, so I try to go a little deeper. I try to compliment the people in my life not on their appearances, but on traits that I admire about them. For example, if someone handles a challenge in life really gracefully, I make sure to tell them. These are a little harder than appearance-based compliments, but they mean so much more.
2) Pass along compliments.
If someone else tells you something great about a person, be sure to tell them! Just today my boss told me that one of the students I tutor told her how much I was helping her, and that was really good to hear. Just be sure that you’re only passing on compliments, not anything negative.
3) In fact, refuse to speak negatively.
This is so hard, I know. If you refuse to be the person who speaks badly about others, though, you’re spreading love and positivity into the world. It might seem like no one will ever know if you’re mean to someone behind their back, but things have a way of getting out. Also, the people around you will notice if you’re always positive. It really does make a difference.
4) Be appreciative and recognize others.
If someone does something nice for me, I try to make a point to recognize it, and more importantly, verbally express my appreciation. If I appreciate someone taking time to help me out, putting up with me when I’m in a bad mood, or doing something for me, I make sure to tell them. People love to know the things they do aren’t going unrecognized.
5) Do small acts of kindness.
Doing little things for people is usually really easy. Hold the door open. Let someone take your seat on the bus. I try to take it a little farther by getting out of my comfort zone, or going above and beyond. One of my favorite things to do is to anonymously leave treats on people’s doors. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to bake some cookies (plus, you get some too), but it can really make someone’s day.
6) Reach out.
I’m so guilty of forgetting about things that I don’t see regularly. Unfortunately, this applies to people. To combat this, I try to text first, and randomly reach to my friends that live far away. I also like to schedule hang outs with those who live nearby but I don’t get to see often enough because of school. This is probably my worst area. I have a dear friend who will randomly text me or send me cards in the mail, and it always makes my day! My goal is to be that kind of friend.
7) Be inclusive.
Don’t just reach out to the people you know well. Try to include new people in your life. Sit next to someone you don’t know in class, or invite your neighbors to come over and play games. Everyone likes to feel included. It can be painfully awkward to do this when you’re shy, but you can make someone’s day and you might even become close friends. I met my best friends because they were willing to knock on my door and invite me over.
8) Listen to people.
This takes a lot of effort on my part because I worry so much about what I’m going to say that I forget to truly listen to people. But people love to feel heard, and really listening to someone can make all the difference. Take the time to have real conversations with people. Try to ask them questions about themselves and their experiences instead of relating everything back to yourself.
9)Remember the little things.
Make a real effort to remember your friends’ birthdays, favorite colors, favorite treats, etc. If someone in your class mentions a big test or other event coming up, be sure to ask them how it went the next time you see them. People will love that you take the time to remember the little things about them.
10) Bring extras and share.
If you pack yourself a snack for your classes, pack an extra and offer it to the person next to you. Better yet, always carry a snack on you and offer it to anyone who complains about being hungry. It’s amazing how happy a little granola bar can make someone.
This is so simple, but take the time to smile at people. A little smile can go a long way.
It’s definitely a challenge to turn these into everyday habits, but it’s so worth it. How do you spread love?