Kindness Counts: 30 Day Challenge
“Kindness is just love with its work boots on.” - Karen McCullah and Karen Smith
Maybe you are single, maybe you are in a committed monogamous relationship, maybe you have multiple lovers, or maybe you are married. Relationships are complicated and, for so many of us, so is Valentine’s Day! Whether you identify as a hopeless romantic or believe Valentine’s Day is a made up Hallmark holiday, there is no escaping that this holiday can take over our emotions and our wallets. In 2016, Valentine’s Day cost Americans an estimated $19.7 billion dollars. Accordingly, filings for divorce also rise on Valentine’s Day.
"I believe in celebrating love and think that healthy love can be an extremely healing experience."
We all have many different opinions and experiences of Valentine’s Day. February 14th is universally marketed as a day filled with “happy couples,” cupid pictures, bright flowers, and much chocolate. I believe in celebrating love and think that healthy love can be an extremely healing experience. I also think it's important to remember that all that glitters is not gold: Pretty pictures on social media don't always equal a harmonious relationship.
"We are living in times of high stress and when we are feeling scared and sad; loneliness — something many often contend with on Valentine's Day — becomes harder to tolerate."
I have been particularly concerned about Valentine’s Day this year. We are living in times of high stress and when we are feeling scared and sad, loneliness — something many often contend with on Valentine's Day — becomes harder to tolerate. These feelings of loneliness (regardless of relationship status) can be particularly brutal for individuals already struggling with feeling isolated and misunderstood. Trump-induced anxiety is real, especially for women, LGBTQIA individuals, minority groups, non-white immigrants, and anyone else personally targeted by the President’s policies and messages.
"When we listen and care, we save lives."
As a therapist, I am on a mission to bring greater kindness into the world. I am clear that in addition to kindness, we need activism, we need resiliency, and we need mobilization. But starting with kindness is an excellent beginning. Kindness lays a foundation of respect, collaboration, and a focus on the collective good. Starting with kindness can save lives. I believe it because I have seen it. Even something as simple as asking someone how they are doing and really paying attention to the answer — as opposed to merely accepting yet another of the “fine”s most of us so easily toss off — can do some serious good. When we listen and care, we save lives.
"30 Days of Kindness"
In honor of Valentine's Day, I am inviting you to welcome more kindness into your life by joining me in a 30 day #KindnessCounts movement. I am committing to one act of kindness each day for 30 days and will be posting about my daily act of kindness on social media.
Remember that Valentine’s Day is a very tough day for many people, especially those who are recovering from a broken heart. So please remember to be extra kind, as you can never really know what burden someone else might be carrying. I hope you join me in the #KindnessCounts Movement.
Kindness is not only a boon to those on the receiving end of it; it is also beneficial to the giver’s overall mental, physical, and emotional health in ways that far outlast even the most exquisite bouquet of roses or delectable box of chocolate. So this Valentine’s Day (and hopefully every day), treat yourself and others to this necessary practice that shouldn’t be a treat at all, and join me in working to make kindness a standard operating procedure.