In response to all the craziness of 50 Shades of Grey, I thought it appropriate to write about 50 shades of red.  Here are 50 ways to show love to another.  I am talking about true and genuine love, not Hollywood’s erotic love which is limited, dysfunctional, and damaging to our minds and hearts.  Let’s focus on positive and healthy ways to show love.

1.       Give someone your undivided attention

2.       Buy them a gift

3.       Serve a friend

4.       Show your teenager limits and enforce them

5.       Give someone a hug

6.       Teach a child to share

7.       Ask an elderly person about their past

8.       Donate money to a cause

9.       Give a dinner party and invite your friends

10.   Plan a surprise party for someone who would appreciate it

My most profound and elusive question is ‘how do I love?’  It varies with the person and situation.  This is a continual pursuit.  The answer is not always obvious but requires me to take the focus off myself and put it on others.  Have you thought about how you love?

11.   Visit someone in the hospital

12.   Pray for someone

13.   Bring cookies to a new neighbor

14.   Encourage someone who is struggling

15.   Give someone a smile

16.   Tell a friend the truth

17.   Don’t say anything (bite your tongue)

18.   Help someone finish a project

19.   Listens to someone’s grief

20.   Go to a funeral

There are some people who are easy to love.   They agree with you and have similar opinions.  How do you love those who you don’t even really like?  What do you have to lay aside to show and feel love towards the unlovable?

21.   Believe the best in your children

22.   Be slow to speak, and quick to listen

23.   Keep your opinions as just that and do not have them turn into judgments

24.   Let someone know how they have inspired you

25.   Be grateful

26.   Cheer for a team (not against the other one)

27.   Think before you say something crabby

28.   Don’t take anyone for granted

29.   Say ‘I Love You’ every day

30.   Tell them like it is, if asked

Gary Chapman describes five love languages.  They are touch, time, words of encouragement, gifts, and service.   We usually show love the way we want to receive it instead of how our love interest would like it.  Ask your children, spouse, and friends, which of the love languages they prefer and then show them love in that way.

31.   Tip well

32.   Speak well of people both publicly and privately

33.   Be generous

34.   Let leaders (speakers, bosses, pastors) know that you appreciate what they do even though you expect it of them

35.   Follow the rules

36.   Don’t allow your own frustration or anxiety to leak onto those around you

37.   Spend time writing a well thought out birthday card

38.   Listen when you ask about someone’s day

39.   See new experiences as opportunities instead of one more of his crazy ideas

40.   Praise someone publically

DC Talk’s song ‘Luv is a Verb tells us that love is a decision, not a feeling.  Are you relying on feelings to determine love?  Do you realize you’re not always lovable?  What decisions can you make to show love to others regardless of your feelings?

41.   Don’t hold grudges

42.   Forgive

43.   Be more interested in others than in yourself

44.   Laugh at jokes, even if they are corny, but not if they put anyone down

45.   Keep your promises

46.   Communicate clearly

47.   Celebrate other’s successes

48.   Help those in need

49.   Bring out the best in others

50.   Pet your dog or cat

Most likely, you can add to this list.  Write down the ways you love and practice them. 

Love really is what makes the world go ‘round.  Be intentional about how you give it.

This is old school but I just had to . . .

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