Contributed by Jody McVittie MD

It is “that” time of year again: when the grocery stores and drug stores take on a certain shade of red. Retailers take advantage of this time of year to “celebrate” love. I believe that some of the commercial hoopla adds to our general confusion about what love is.

If you take a memory trip back to your childhood do you remember how you knew you were loved? What did that person do or say that gave you the message that you were loved? This is what we hear from parents (and teachers) tell us:

That person:
Listened
Played with me
Taught me things
Trusted me
Let me teach him things
Came to my events
Left me love notes
Knew what I liked for dinner
Had eyes that sparkled when I entered the room
Read to me
Comforted me
Stood up for me
Laughed with me
Held me accountable
Believed in me
Hugged me
Used nicknames
Had family traditions
Told me that she loved me
Had faith in me – even when I made some stupid mistakes.

Notice something? Not too many fancy shoes or toys or games or “things” on that list. When we get right down to it, love isn’t about what we get, it is about how we are with each other.

Who do you love? How do they know it?

It is always a great time of year to let people know you care. Sometimes though, all that red in the grocery store could be a gentle reminder about how to be (instead of what to buy.)

Need a few more ideas for how to share your love?

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