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Celebrate Valentine's Day with Random Acts of Kindness
Valentine's Day is a Day for Lovers
Everybody knows that Valentine's Day is a day for lovers. From the decorations colored red for passion and pink for love to the romantic roses and dinner invitations, this entire day is geared toward expressing your affection to the one you love. Anyone who has ever spent Valentine's Day alone knows that this is a tough day for single people. High schoolers in particular often face the loneliness of watching friends and peers receive red roses during class while they sit by and wish that there was someone who wanted them enough to send them something for Valentine's Day.
If this day is truly about love, why not spread love and goodness on Valentine's Day? Whether you have a partner to spend the day with or you're alone yourself, Valentine's Day is a perfect opportunity to show others that there is love in the world. You never know what good you might do for someone who is having a difficult day and is in need of somebody to brighten their mood. By making this day about somebody other than yourself and your partner, you can even bring love into your own life. So reach out this year and touch a life that doesn't have the same love you may have in yours.
Valentine's Day is Tough for Those Without Lovers
If you've ever spent a Valentine's Day alone (and who, apart from the most popular people, has not?), then nobody has to tell you how tough it can be to spend another year wishing that you had somebody to hold and to call your own. Real life isn't like elementary school in which the rules say that everybody has to get a card so that nobody is left out for the holiday. As you've grown up, you've probably been increasingly exposed to what it feels like when others around you have something that you don't. For singles, Valentine's Day is just another way to rub it in their faces: They don't have anybody.
Loneliness can contribute to depression. Holidays that promote togetherness and public gift-giving emphasize loneliness and may encourage depression in those with a predisposition to depression in the first place. Being alone on Valentine's Day is a difficult place for most people to be, and therefore it provides an opportunity for generous people to use this day to help someone who may already be suffering. If we're becoming increasingly aware of bullying, then perhaps we can see just how much several people receiving a gift in public can emphasize the one person who doesn't.
Did you receive roses on Valentine's Day in high school?
Lonely High School Students Suffer on Valentine's Day
When you were growing up, were you one of the popular kids who ended the school day with a dozen of the roses sold by your school counsel, or were you one of the unpopular kids who didn't go home with a single rose? For those who don't fit in with any popular crowd, don't date, or don't have boyfriends (or girlfriends), it's very difficult to sit through February 14th and watch everyone around them receive roses, cards and gifts. This is no longer elementary school and nobody is forcing everyone to give the same to every student. Some people are going to get left out and that's just the way of the high school caste system.
But did you know that sometimes, bullied kids do things to hurt themselves? Surely you've heard in the news about gay teens committing suicide as a result of bullying in schools. And did you also know that it isn't the recipients of those Valentine's roses who are being singled out, but the "uncool" kids who aren't receiving the roses? Each rose purchased and distributed contributes to the loneliness of those bullied kids who aren't receiving any, and you can't call the purchasers bullies! They're only doing what's natural: Expressing love and affection for their honey.
Valentine's Acts of Kindness for Different People
Send a rose to a girl who didn't get one.
Bring a Valentine's cake to work.
Write a love letter expressing your appreciation.
Drop valentines into random lockers.
Place a bouquet on your desk and give flowers to anyone who doesn't have a valentine.
Tell military widows how much you understand their sacrifice.
Use sticky notes to attach messages to the desk before leaving class.
Invite your lonely friends out for dinner.
Recall wonderful things about the fallen spouse.
Examples of People Who Could Use Valentine's Cheer
- An elderly widow(er) who has lost her (or his) spouse.
- A young woman whose husband died in combat.
- The "nerd" who sits next to you in science class and doesn't have a boyfriend.
Acts of Kindness can Help Ease Valentine's Loneliness
Valentine's Day results in a number of people being left out. Whether still in high school or at the office watching colleagues receive Valentine's cheer from their spouse or lover, it's hard to be the one who's left out without anything. The questions are even worse: "What are you doing for Valentine's Day?" or "What did your boyfriend get you this year?" can be hard for someone who's spending February 14th alone. Acts of kindness can help to fill this void because they provide cheer and a reminder that there are people in the world who genuinely care about the people left out.
Go out of your way to provide something nice this year as a Valentine's Day treat for someone who doesn't have something to look forward to. If you need ideas for the types of people who could use a pick-me-up, check out the list provided to the right. You can either choose people ahead of time or create valentines to give to random people (in true random acts of kindness) on Valentine's Day. Whichever you choose to do, the important goal is to make sure that you're helping someone to celebrate Valentine's Day who might not otherwise have anyone to celebrate with.
Combat loneliness by being the person to express love.
Examples of Short but Meaningful Valentine's Notes
- "Somebody loves you."
- "You're special."
- "You're beautiful."
- "The world needs more people like you."
- "You're a sweetheart."
- "You matter to me."
Creating Valentines for Acts of Kindness this February 14th
The goal of this project is to spread love through the world to those who might not have a love of their own. In order to best accomplish this goal, you will want to make sure that you're creating a personal message that will touch the heart of the person receiving the valentine. How do you do this when you might not know this person? You make sure that your message comes from your own heart. If you do this, you will touch their heart as well. Dig deep and find that human love and kindness that is so often difficult to find in our world but which most everyone possesses.
Write notes. Tumblr can be a fantastic place to get examples of the types of notes that one might write to a stranger who plans on committing suicide, and the idea is similar. Keep the notes simple, but heart-felt. They should be brief, but convey a distinct message. You don't need to provide detail as you might when writing a love letter to your partner, but you do want to make sure that you have something significant and important to say. Rubbish notes won't help anyone, so try not to be too trite. "Have a nice day" is meaningless. "Somebody loves you" is not.
Make sure when writing these notes that you mean what you say. Don't even attempt this project if you don't feel that you are a particularly loving person. Infuse the notes with as much love as you can. Even if you plan on submitting your notes anonymously, make sure that you've put forth good thoughts and feelings for the person who will receive the note. You never know: They may be able to feel that, too!
Your notes can be simple, like a child's valentine, or they can be more elaborate, hand-made cards in fitted envelopes sprinkled with heart confetti. You may wish to attach small bags of conversation hearts to the Valentine's love note before you pass it on to your recipient. In any event, try to make your notes universal, so that whoever they find (because the notes will find their people more than their people will find the notes) will understand the message and relate to it.
Places to Drop Love Notes
- The seat next to you on the bus
- Tucked into a library book
- Against a shoppe window
- At the post office
- Anywhere people gather
Setting Valentine's Letters Free in the Wild
If you've ever heard of Book Crossing, then you'll understand the concept of setting books free in the wild. Why not set Valentine's letters loose in the wild as well? You can write your letters up ahead of time -- make them as long or as short as you want. Sign them if you like, or you can keep your letters anonymous. If you'd like to start a penpal relationship with someone who might need a friend, leave a P.O. Box number (please don't leave your home address!) or an e-mail address where you can be reached for further correspondence. Make sure that you use a nice envelop (red is nice, but pink works too!) and maybe draw some hearts on the outside of the envelop. Then "set the valentines loose in the wild."
Make Someone's Day this Valentine's Day
The most important thing to remember is that if you see someone who is clearly feeling left out by this romantic holiday, extend yourself to them. Whether you have a lover this February 14th or not isn't important in the long run. The most important thing is extending love to those who don't have somebody to call their own.
If you'd like to find out more about how to celebrate a great Valentine's Day this year, maybe you'd like to learn how to make it through Valentine's Day if you have very little cash to spend. All of the ideas listed above work for those with small budgets, so surely you can find it in your heart to give some love to somebody who doesn't have love this year!
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti