Compassion in Action

love notes
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Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.—Rumi

There is a strong connection to how we feel about others and ourselves that affects how satisfied we are with our lives.

The Oxford dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling of deep affection.” With that in mind, think about the various things that you love. Possibly chocolate, a family member, a good friend, chamomile tea, a pet, stargazing . . . and the list can go on and on.

Love shows up in a myriad of ways and doesn’t have to involve another person. As the Rumi quote above reminds us, we find love within.

Self-love is not a narcissistic trait; instead it’s taking care of our well-being and overall happiness. It’s critical to our health! When I think back on my inability to set boundaries in my early 20s, I now see that as a lack of self-love. Eager to please, I was involved in relationships (romantic and otherwise) that didn’t contribute to my wellness and instead depleted my energy resources.

Over the years, I’ve become much more cautious. This came with getting to know myself better, recognizing I was an introvert and needed lots of replenishment time, and being slower to share my time. Self-love grows from making decisions and taking actions to support ourselves. It starts with self-awareness.

There is no prescription for this process. It’s a lifelong journey and it’s never too late to start down the path toward self-love. By accepting ourselves—eccentricities and all—our lifelong romance deepens. It also makes us more appealing to others.

Now let’s talk about others—community, friends, lovers, family, pets, causes, colleagues, and more! I’ve always been a fan of the little things. From setting up a scavenger hunt for a loved one, to remembering friends’ birthdays, to putting love notes in a suitcase for Tim to open while on travel, to sending snail mail care packages. I’ll even turn on classical music for my pugs to enjoy when I’m gone. These are ways I show love. What about you?

There are many ways to give love that go beyond my examples above. Relationship expert John Gottman developed the Six Magic Hours as a formula to deepen our romantic relationships. Since we have 168, six hours per week doesn’t sound too far-fetched and includes mindful partings and reunions, appreciation and admiration, affection, a two-hour date night, and a one-hour state of the union meeting.

While that notion was developed for couples, it’s a handy way to think about all of our relationships. Our comings and goings (those you regularly come into contact with), sharing appreciation, and spending time help build all of our relationships and, ultimately, deepen our love and connection.

This level of compassion is best extended to all beings—human, furry, scaly, and feathery. Adopt or sponsor an animal. Forgo products made with palm oil or animals. Try Meatless Mondays. Purchase cruelty-free cosmetics and household products. Support compassionate fashion. Visit and support animal sanctuaries. Volunteer at a shelter or rescue. Boycott puppy mills and fur. Foster a pet. The list goes on and on.

After all, compassion is the new black. Remember we always have a choice. Ask yourself throughout the day, “What would it look like to choose love right now?” Bisous. x

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