Monday, 14 February 2011

Monday's Musings: what's love got to do with it?

We all know that love is an over-used word to the extent that it can have very little meaning. So from that perspective Valentine’s Day, a commercial take on that quality just compounds the cynicism or does it? We don’t have to respond as expected by going out for a romantic dinner or sending cards. Elaine Gast Fawcett has written a fabulous article which gives a very different slant to it all. In it she mentions Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK), something I came across about two years ago when Jessica Chivers a fellow coach and colleague wrote about it on her blog. RAOK are celebrated for a week in February, however my view is that we don’t have to be conscious of it for only one week of the year but can practise it more regularly.  That said I want to share with you my approach to it this year as an example of another way we can look at 14 February.

Love can begin at home and perhaps ought to when we have a family.  What follows is my take on Valentine's Day.  On Saturday, I went with three of the women in my extended family to the Melting Pot. I had organised and paid for us all to do a chocolate making workshop for  Christmas. I did it because I thought it would be fun but also because we all celebrated the marriage of a close family member to a person from another country and in both cases our relative has decided to make his life in their partner's country. What better way to mark this change than to bring other members of the family together. I also love to support local businesses where I know the owner and love what they do. As you can see it was a win:win on a number of levels.

What I did not foresee even though it was the Saturday before Valentine’s Day was how it would have further ramifications. I was able to give those close to me and those who support the Griff/ Mac household a special treat: handmade chocs by me. Our au pair got some, our cleaner got some and my OH got a bumper lot as well as the girls. It was lovely to be able to share out what I had handrolled or covered in cocoa dust on Saturday!

And yet there was more.  Before getting out of bed this morning, the girls brought me some pressies: delicious expensive chocs and what was best of all, a beautiful heart mug. It had taken the OH ages to find it because he wanted one with loads of hearts on the inside so that I would be able to see them as I drank my morning coffee and know that there were people in my life who loved me.  I realise that at this point some may be saying pass the sick bucket because in some ways it seems so cliched. However I maintain it is very important to receive daily doses of affirmation and appreciation. This is not only important when we have dark times in our lives. Nancy Kline who wrote Time to Think has said that one of the ten qualities we need present to ensure quality thinking is acknowledgement by others. In other words when we receive recognition, the quality of our thinking increases. So as you go through your week, think about how you can affirm those around you.  It may just be with a smile, through listening and/ or a comment.  I would love to hear how you get on or about stories of what has worked for you.

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