Though I already discussed my goals for the month of July (and HELLO! how is already almost the middle of the month?) I’ve added another intention to the list. I want to be more intentional about going out of my way to make other people’s lives better. I consider myself a kind person, a person with good intentions and generally even with good actions. However, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, and being a person that changes other people’s lives for the better requires more than simply “not being bad“. I don’t want to slide through life by being nice by default (aka not being mean). I want to be the person that goes the extra mile whether it is sending an unexpected card or text message, giving a girl friend a random bouquet of flowers or doing a dreaded chore or task for Jordan just because. I want to be the person that overflows with love and gives proofs of love freely.
A few years ago I read “The Happiness Project” and last month I listened to “Happiness at Home” on Audible. In both books the author, spent a year living her life with the intention to be happier. Each month she set goals for herself whether they were small acts like kissing her husband more often and greeting her family more cheerfully or bigger goals like weekly dates in the city with her daughter or scary goals like learning to drive. I was inspired by both books. I think it is admirable to try and be our happiest selves. What stood out to me most, from both happiness project books was the concept of “Proofs of Love“.
While our love for those around us is real, the only way we demonstrate love is through our actions, words and sacrifices. If we don’t give proofs of love does the love we feel even matter? I want to say “I love you” and say “I appreciate you” to the people that matter to me…but I want to do more than that.
I know how much it means to me when a friend or family member spontaneously thinks of me. I know a genuine, heartfelt compliment can make my day. I know receiving a piece of mail that isn’t a bill never fails to make me smile. It’s so easy to forget to go out of my way to give love to others. Giving love is sometimes harder than plopping myself on the couch and watching The Bachelorette. Yet, loving others is so much more rewarding, and I guess in that way its a little bit of a selfish goal too.
I say “I love you” to Jordan all the time but I still can be whiny and bratty and oh can I be BOSSY. I love my family but I am so guilty of putting off phone calls, forgetting to e-mail back and yes, even avoiding small talk because it makes me uncomfortable. I want to show love though. I would rather be the woman who loved too much than the person who never made the effort.
True goals are supposed to be specific and measurable aren’t they? I’ve learned the best way to successfully achieve my goals is tracking and analyzing and constantly checking in with myself. BUT…When it comes to brightening the lives of others it is difficult to quantify the results. I don’t necessarily want to say “do one good deed every day” because I don’t want love to feel contrived. I don’t think it’s right to say “track my proofs of love” because I don’t think showing love should be about measuring how selfless and wonderful you can be.
My 9th grade P.E. teacher would be disappointed my intention is neither specific or measurable. I’m simply grabbing a pink sharpie and scrawling “SHOW PROOFS OF LOVE” on each page of my planner as a weekly reminder. I’m writing a blog post to hold myself accountable. I’m challenging myself to look for more ways to love.
Love more and there is no room for hate. Love more and there is no energy to snap at the Starbucks barista who messes up your order (twice) and consequently makes you late for work. Love more and there is no room to gossip about your girl friend (and find yourself feeling like a guilty jerk later…I know I’m not the only one who has been there). Love more and so many of life’s trivial issues fall away. I’m not saying that in the face of love life is seamless, but love does have a way of illuminating the portions of life that are valuable.