Heart shape from two hand with sunrise background. Freepik.

February is probably best known for Valentine's Day, a holiday dedicated to love and often celebrated with such tokens as cards, flowers, candy hearts, and chocolates. Another celebration related to love falls on February 17 — Random Acts of Kindness Day, a kindness movement promoted by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Unlike chocolate, love and kindness are things we could use larger servings of in our lives. Scientific evidence shows there are positive effects of being on the receiving end of loving acts as well as when doing them for others. Just witnessing an act of kindness can be uplifting. It can make you smile. It can make you feel good. It can give you hope.

What if at least once a day we made the effort to go slightly out of our way to spread love and kindness?
In his book Born for Love, Leo Buscaglia notes that just like we “learn” to be human, we must also learn to love. It's something that must be “acted out and acted upon” in order for it to be realized. Buscaglia crafted what he termed a “Love Quiz”, a kind of litmus test to assess how you think you're doing at life and at love. I encourage you to take the quiz and self reflect on your relationships with yourself, your extended family, and most of all your children.

• Is anyone a little happier because I came along today?
• Did I leave any concrete evidence of my kindness, any sign of my love?
• Did I try to think of someone I know in a more positive light?
• Did I help someone to feel joy, to laugh, or at least to smile?
• Have I attempted to remove a little of the rust that is corroding my relationships?
• Have I gone through the day without fretting over what I don't have and celebrating the things I do have?
• Have I forgiven others for being less than perfect?
• Have I forgiven myself?
• Have I learned something new about life, living, or love?

Love and kindness require connectedness. Let's look for ways to strengthen existing connections with the people in our lives, including those with whom we don't have a great kinship. Let's look for ways to build new connections with people we've admired from afar. And most of all, let's make love and kindness intentional in our daily lives.

Love is the life soul. It is the harmony of the universe.

Together we are better,
Brett Stousland

P.S. Don't forget you can share in the appreciation for all of the good things that are going on in the District. Visit our Celebrate GSD! page to read the notes of gratitude we've gotten so far — and to share your own.