Why Not Give Love a Chance? Forty Ways!

by Belinda Munoz on September 1, 2010

love

Sometimes, inspiration hits when you least expect it.  You see, last night, I didn’t need inspiration to write.  I was brimming with ideas when I sat down in front of my laptop.  Then I read Tess’ KINDNESS post that pushed all my other ideas aside.  And then, per Tess’ suggestion, I clicked over to Lori’s LOVE post and that was it for me.  Both posts blew me away.   I was filled with unexpected inspiration that I simply must go with the flow.  This flow?  It leads me to Love.

L-O-V-E

This four-letter word that is so magnanimous and so powerful we sometimes don’t know what to do with it.

This four-letter word I write about obliquely and have not been able to nail.

This four-letter word that trumps all other four-letter words known to any talk show host across any given spectrum.

This four-letter word that I’m not ashamed to admit I continue to want and need despite having plenty of it.

This four-letter word that is a gift I wish for everyone I meet.

This four-letter word that is a place from which I strive to start anything I do, though every now and then, find myself resorting to last.

Why not give love a chance? 

CONVERSATION

1 Why not chat up a lonesome person waiting at the bus stop?  If you’re savoring these remaining days of sunshine a-plenty by going for a walk or a run, wouldn’t it be nice to exchange friendly banter with someone who’s waiting for the bus to arrive?  If you never take the bus, I can tell you those ten minutes of waiting can feel like an hour when you’re without a book, an iPod or magically caught up on texting, e-mailing or phone-calling.

2 Why not get out of the house, intentionally leaving any devices home that impede human contact, and be open to interacting with strangers?  Leave your partner home if you have one and go solo.  Be generous with your smile.  Make eye contact with other people who are alone and let them know they are not invisible to you.  Make sure they know without question that you see them. 

3 Why not attend a country fair and instead of shopping for holiday gifts, focus on the vendors and the artists selling their wares?  Much of these items are labors of love and in many cultures, artists are under-appreciated.

4 Why not give directions to tourists?  I see them all the time in my town this time of year.  While they may not expect to be catered to, imagine what a great feeling they would take with them knowing that locals took the time to help them out.

5 Why not read a book by a rookie author, write a great review of the book if you liked it, and write a letter to the author expressing your appreciation of their work and sending it through the publisher?  The best-sellers are not necessarily the best books.  They may have mainstream appeal but there are plenty of wonderful authors whose words are full of gems waiting to be shared with more readers.

6 Why not let soulfulness fill you once in a while instead of verbalizing on and on how you feel?  I love words.  But sometimes, words aren’t enough.  If you’re so moved, why not cry?  If your heart stirs, why not belt out a tune?  If you’re filled with joy, why not hug someone tight?  These are not shameful acts and I secretly believe that everyone would commit these acts more often if there was no stigma attached to them.

7 Why not keep a criticism to yourself?  I am the first to admit that I struggle with poor customer service.  I can be demanding if I feel I’m not getting my money’s worth.  But if it’s not a matter of life and death, why not let a slip up slide?  Systems may need improving (and at times a complete overhaul) but humans are not not robots.  We make mistakes.  We have bad days.  Our errors don’t mean we need an overhaul or that we won’t get it right the next time.

8 Why not zap any unkind thoughts before they escape your lips?  I can understand habitual cursing — that can be a hard habit to break and that’s not what I’m talking about.  I personally think thoughtless and unkind words that provoke hate, that incite hatefulness in others who listen, only cheapen that person’s words and credibility.  If hate is the tone or the message, then the words are just noise.  Not worth a flying hoot.

9 Why not wish a person well?  Sometimes, I sign my e-mails Be well.  And I mean it.  It may not be an overt act of love, but it’s certainly something I want and am happy to receive.  The gift of wellness.  We all want it.  This wish can be proclaimed silently or in writing or in secret.

10 Why not express concern freely if intuition tells you something’s off?  Sometimes, we know something’s not quite right but yet we hem and haw.  We don’t want to pry.  We think it’s not our place to speak up.  But before a problem can be addressed, it must first be acknowledged.

ITTY-BITTY LOVE

11 Why not hand out stickers or fashion tattoos to little children (preferably in front of their parent(s) or caretaker)?  These things make the little rugrats happy.  Why not let these impressionable souls experience kindness from a stranger that they may be old enough to remember for years to come?

12 Why not offer to lend a hand to a mother with at least one young one in tow if she appears to be struggling with groceries, or laundry or some other mundane task that are really quite simple to handle otherwise?  Moms have a big job to do with no compensation.  A little love would go a long way.

13 Why not stop yourself if you ever feel like shooting dagger looks (or worse) at a child/caretaker combo because they are cramping your style (too much talking, too much crying, too many questions, too loud, too damn much for you, etc.)? 

14 Why not play peek-a-boo with a little ragamuffin?  They are social beings and one of their favorite things to do is play peek-a-boo with strangers.  It warms the parents’ hearts to know that their child plays well with others.

15 Why not let parents know if you’ve observed them handling themselves particularly well in an interaction with their child?  Parenting can be daunting at times and each time I’ve received a random compliment from a stranger, my heart swells.

16 Why not go ahead and goo-goo gaga over a newborn baby if you happen to be in the presence of one?  I do.  So many things could go so wrong in the gestation process.  Both for the mother and the wee ‘un.  (Sparing gory details.)  When they both make it through alive, it’s beyond beautiful.  It’s a miracle.

17 Why not embrace love in a really big way and adopt a child?  There is not a shortage of orphans needing a loving home. 

18 If the above is too much too soon, why not scale back and adopt a pet?  There is not a shortage of pets needing a loving home.

19 Why not dig around and see if the child you once were is still in you?  Is she/he gregarious?  Why not coax her/him out to play?  to laugh?  to shine?

ROADSIDE LOVE

20 Why not help a petite woman (or anyone, really) stow her carry-on in the overhead bin?  I have been on the receiving end of this kindness many a time and believe me, it never gets old.

21 Why not pay for someone’s bus fare?  More and more people are giving up their cars in favor of public transportation in this time of economic struggle.  You can imagine how tight and uncomfortable these buses can be.  Imagine making someone’s morning for the price of $2?

22 Why not spare the air in 90-degree weather and walk or ride a bike or carpool or telecommute?

23 Why not eat locally grown foods for at least a week?  See how it feels.  If you like it, extend it to a month, a year or a lifetime, whatever makes you happy.

THOUGHTFUL LOVE

24 Why not buy popsicles for a random posse on an off the charts hot day?

25 Why not plant a tree in honor or in memory of someone through www.sempervirens.org?

26 Why not make a donation to a cause you love in lieu of material gifts for loved ones for the holidays?

27 Why not write a poem and dedicate it to someone who inspires you?

28 Why not try a No Complaint Day (or year, or hour, whatever suits you)?

29 Why not let your inner world traveler spin that globe and wherever your finger lands, why not let your inner activist learn about the issues and struggles of that country?  For starters, find out what their average income is.  Then, find out how big their average house is, what basics they may not have that we take for granted, etc.  Then, consider how awesome it is that you are alive concurrently as they are and that you could visit someday if you wanted to.  As the Disneyland song goes, it’s a small world after all.

30 Why not treat yourself to a day off, one when you do nothing but things you love?

SIMPLIFYING THE COMPLEX

31 Why not believe in love?

32 Why not love yourself?

33 Why not love others?

34 Why not lift the conditions when you love?

35 Why not do what you love and love what you do?

36 Why not start and end anything you do with love?

37 Why not do all the things in the middle from a place of love?

38 Why question love?

39 Why not live like there’s no tomorrow?

40 Why not start now?

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Related posts:

Fifty Ways to Pay It Forward

Operation Hide Love Less

Can We Talk About Love for a Minute?

Image by alykat

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Love!Love!Love! ~ Part Deux | Jane Be Nimble
November 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheKitchenWitch September 1, 2010 at 4:39 am

Wow! That’s a lot of love and goodness going on. The item I particularly loved? #15. Parenting is such a responsibility, and such a dicey proposition. How lovely would it be to hear from a stranger, “You’re really great with him/her.”

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2 Giulietta Nardone September 1, 2010 at 4:56 am

Hey Belinda,

I “love” your post. The why not refrain really pulls me in. Clever writing! #1: Why not talk to a stranger? This is a great one. We’ve become so stranger-phobic it’s crazy. Just creates more alienation in the world. #4: I attract tourists asking for direction. Really enjoy helping them out or trying to speak their language. An adventure in itself. #29. I’m a globe fanatic. Having been reading maps since I got national geographic as a kid. Will do this one today.

Much thanks for these great Why Nots. Giulietta

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3 rob white September 1, 2010 at 6:43 am

Hi Belinda,
These are all fantastic… you really hit a home run with this. It just goes to show if there are forty ways there are four hundred ways. It is a great call to action. What are we waiting for when we can walk our talk today! When we become aware of all the ways we can give (and take action) love boomerangs back to us in ways we can never predict.

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4 Aging Mommy September 1, 2010 at 10:46 am

I read that list and it all sounded wonderful but quite honestly I know where I need to start, which is at home. Not with my daughter, she gets all the love and attention she needs and more. With my husband, who I feel gets the bum deal. It is very tough for us to get any quality time together but even so, making time for each other and showing each other affection in little ways, that is something I at least need to do a whole lot better at.

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5 Corinne September 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

This list is so so good.
Thank you…

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6 Sara Healy September 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Belinda,

I *love* all your suggestions and I really enjoyed how simplified this post down to the end. What a nice to find as I clicked over to Patty.

You have a great talent for creating creative categories. I just love how you do. I liked the “Roadside love” and, of course, “Simplifying the Complex.” There’s a lot of love going around the blogosphere today and it obviously a good thing:~)

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7 BigLittleWolf September 1, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Five letter word: A-D-O-R-E. Adore this post. Great suggestions, and all things we can consider so many to choose from.

(As for #20, being a petite woman, that help with the overhead bin – or reaching something at the supermarket for that matter – it doesn’t get old! You’re so right!)

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8 Lauren September 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Dearest Belinda,

I love your post on LOVE. I just wrote one in which I said Love is the most powerful force and presence in the universe – and I believe it is.

I’m amazed by how beautifully people respond to being treated well, paid a few minutes of attention, complimented in a real way. I always try to make time to relate with others in these ways.

Often, the most disgruntled person shifts when treated with kindness.

I don’t always live here, yet I try to return often.

You’re wonderful!

Be well,
Lauren

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9 Lori September 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Hi Belinda,
This knocked my socks off. With so many of your listed things I kept nodding, and thinking about, and thinking, and nodding, and nodding (you get the idea).

I love the way you ended this post with a link to Patty ~ I love her. 😉
You really have a way of boiling down the complicated to the essence of love. I should have checked in with you first before I went about my mission with Tess, you have some great ideas here!

The good thing is that I’m not stopping my love mission, I’m going to continue to make people’s day brighter. So, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all these delicious ideas.
(Cheers to my #micropoet buddy, too, thanks for the link love, sweet.) */*
~xo

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10 The Exception September 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Ah… Amare!!
To love, that is what it is all about.
This list is wonderous. I would like to offer people a challenge to do 5 of these for a week – just to see what happens. This summer we have done several of these – and the results are amazing… not just for the other people involved but in brightening our own smiles.
Great list – and one I might return to time and time again!

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11 Aileen September 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm

WOW!
I followed the links you gave at the top and read Tess’s 40 acts of kindness then went and read Lori’s post – then finished reading this BEAUTIFUL post. You’ve just given me a journey of love, joy & hope!

🙂

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12 Keith September 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Hi Belinda,

I read Tess’s and Lori’s posts as well and was so blown away. I started my day with them and have thought of them all day. My day is nearing it’s end and now I read your post and a whole new wave of emotion is flooding over me. Not to mention a lot of fantastic ideas for showing love to people I come into contact with! You, my lady, are one awesome chick!

I love the way you’ve written this post too. You do such a great job getting to the essence of what it means to be an Activist for Love!

Thank you Belinda.

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13 Tony Single September 2, 2010 at 5:19 am

Yup, all you need is love… well, so say the Beatles, so it must be true! Right? 😛

I’m gonna go and accost a frail old granny now, and help her across the street whether she wants the help or not. Heck, even if she doesn’t want to cross it, I’ll make her, just out of LOVE! That’s how enthusiastic I am! 🙂

Fantastic article, Belinda! Actually, we have the trifecta with yours, Tess’ and Lori’s recent posts on LOVE. An embarrassment of riches. Brilliant!

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14 Nadia Ballas-Ruta ~ Happy Lotus Lifestyles September 2, 2010 at 8:23 am

Hi Belinda,

This post was just so powerful and so full of love. Each line is just sheer perfection and beauty. Thank you so much for sharing your love and your belief in love with all of us.

It does not take much to spread love and to give love. I often think we complicate it because we think love is hard. But our nature is love. It is in our DNA to be loving…we just let fear get in the way and deludes us.

May many people read this post and be inspired to be and give love….just as you so beautifully do!

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15 Tim September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Hi Belinda:

Wow, some really good ideas that all of us can apply to any day in our lives. The beginning of the post was very poetic and did a great job sucking us in. I really like your #6 about expressing yourself without using words to describe what you’re feeling. I’m with you…I say if you hear a song on the radio, start singing without worrying what others may think. Thank you for sharing some great, powerful ideas!

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16 ayo September 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm

hi belinda
how are you?
thanks for sharing this article and this is the 4th blog i’m reading today talking about love or showing care. love is certainly in the air.
there was a talk show this morning discussing why our level of love and care for each other has reduced and people came up with several reasons such as trust diminishing, selfish attitudes, too busy to care, burdens, the world evolving, fear …..
if only we could give love a chance.
well said belinda!!! you take care of yourself and have a lovely day

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17 Madeleine Kolb September 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I especially loved #14 and 16. I often think about how miraculous it is to see perfect babies. As you say, there is much that can go wrong, but nearly all the time the baby develops perfectly. And speaking of that, I love #26 about making a donation. One of my favorite organizations (called Smile Train) repairs cleft lips and cleft palates in babies and young children all over the world. The before-and-after pictures are overwhelming. It costs so little to make such a big difference.

Thank you!

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18 Tess The Bold Life September 4, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Belinda,
I can’t believe I almost missed this. I’m going to start all over again. I was running out of ideas last week and you replenished my supply. If we keep doing these and inspiring each other we’ll be doin the kindness dance forever;) xo I like the way you ended with Patti too.

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19 Jenny September 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Ooh, and ahh. I LOVE this Belinda. I’m almost glad that I didn’t get to it before I wrote my last post. It would have made it way too long. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

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20 Jenny September 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I also forgot to mention that I met one of my best friends about 7 years ago by starting a random conversation at the bus stop. Not only did I gain a wonderful friend, but he turned me onto photography, which has been one of my greatest joys!
We definitely should talk to strangers.

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21 Rudri September 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Very insightful Belinda. I especially like the one about no complaints and loving others. And most importantly loving yourself.

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