PROCLAMATION: Valentines Day is hereby declared a day for loving!!!

Valentines Day is for loving – it is not just hearts and flowers, chocolates, sexy lingerie, sweethearts and lovers. Within our culture this day has become a day of both great joy as well as much misery. If you have a sweetie or sweeties to share this day with you this can be a very special time to share your love. However, there are many people who are without that special person, have no family, or are just plain alone and lonely. For these folks, Valentines Day can be one day that can only pass too quickly.

Perhaps you are one those people without a special someone or maybe you know a person who needs a little TLC (tender loving care). In reality, many people are in need of some TLC. We live in a society in which we have achieved all manner of material success, but are disconnected from each other personally. As I have talked to people about I.M. Heart, there is a consensus that there is a great need to connect from the heart.

What does connection mean? There are all levels of connection – some are short term, occasional or superficial, like two ships passing in the night. We may meet, exchange a greeting and then not see each other for a long period of time. Other connections are with acquaintances, friendly, cordial, a lunch or dinner, not requiring much more than pleasant, social interaction. They are feel good connections that bring happiness and fun to our days. Most of us are fortunate to have personal and intimate connections. These are people with whom we feel free to be honest and open with on more personal and profound topics. Whether or not we are blood relations, we are attached at a deeper comfort level and there is a commitment to the well-being of the other.

We connect in many ways. Through conversation we find that we are all more alike than different, find a trait to like or enjoy in another, or find a common hobby or interest to connect us. In activities, sports, movies, the arts we find a common ground. We may connect simply through a smile, hand shake, hug, eye contact or a nod of our head. The significance of connection is that we find ways to relate to, associate with, or come in touch with another human being. That seems to be the crux of the cultural disconnect – that we have lost touch with the common humanity in one another.

This Valentines Day, February 14, 2008, is your opportunity to connect! How much influence can you have on the lives of other people in one day? How much love can you spread around in a 24-hour period of time? We could all benefit from more kind souls who are willing to take an extra moment to offer a word of thanks, to extend a helping hand, to be patient or simply to listen. Perhaps a smile, a genuine inquiry about our well-being or a phone call would be a way to connect. Person to person we need to take better care of each other. A kindness shown another can have more influence than we can imagine. Our actions can alter the course of history or simply make a difference by putting a silly smile on the face of another human being.

There are some simple actions that you can take to connect on this day – they may require no money. That do require your time – your presence – your attention – your caring. They require giving of yourself -- to someone else. How do you do that? Think about these ideas for tender loving care:

• TIME – Schedule time to be with someone your care about – and then truly BE with them. Just be a companion in any activity you enjoy sharing.

• LISTEN - Really listen with your ears, eyes, heart and mind. Listen to joys, sorrows, stories, questions. To many people, someone to listen to them would be an enormous gift of love.

• LAUGH – We take life so seriously. Instead chill out and take joy in the ordinary moments in life. Share both the silly little ditties and the huge, incredible, you’ll-never-believe-this humorous stories. Giggle, chuckle, grin and enjoy!!

• GIVE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Sometimes an empathetic word of encouragement is all people need to make a change. They need someone to support them to get through a tough time. If you believe in them it will help them to believe in themselves.

• GIVE A COMPLIMENT – Many people are unable to compliment themselves. They see their weaknesses, but they cannot see their strengths. Your genuine compliment will remind them of their value and worth. You can make their day.

• CALL SOMEONE – Who have you wondered about, wanted to talk to, or missed? Call them on Valentines Day and tell them how much they mean to you.

• THANK SOMEONE – Tell someone you appreciate, love, or admire that you are grateful to have them in your life. Let them know that your heart smiles when you think of them.

These are just a few of the many ways we can connect to others on Valentines Day. Experiment with these and be creative in using other ideas. We can create miracles by connecting to each other with a loving energy. An open heart reaching out to another open heart creates a network for miracles that are passed forward. Valentines Day is not just for lovers, it is for loving each other.

Think about this crazy idea: What would happen if we carried this concept of loving each other beyond Valentines Day? How many miracles could we create on a daily on-going basis? Maybe everyday could be Valentines Day!!

There is another benefit to connecting. How many miracles will this level of giving create for you? If you feel you are a Valentine crumb instead of a heart-shaped wonder, stop the pity party, forget yourself and reach out to someone else. By giving your loving energy to others, you can give tender loving care and be a Valentine blessing to yourself as well.

Love and Blessings!!! Happy Valentines Day!!!

Author's Bio: 

The focus of Sue McDaniel's career has been in education, teaching, and state government. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a speaker and consultant on management and communication topics. At the state level, she is a speaker on personal growth topics. During her tenure as Executive Director of the Missouri Women’s Council, she spoke to numerous college classes, women’s groups and state government conferences about the power of personal growth and change. I.M. Heart was published in November 2007, by Alternatives.