This new year has gotten to a rough start.
Every year, we start with good hopes. We say things like, “this year transform the way I spend my time!” It’s only February, but you’re already feeling stuck. Sound familiar?
Forget new habits, the people around you didn’t change either! Annoying superiors bossing you around? Or is it noisy neighbors and frustrating relatives? Welcoming in a new year doesn’t revolutionize our habits nor our circumstances.
Here’s what does: Loving out Loud. But what does that mean?
It’s much more than being good and doing good. Loving out loud means having conversations with anyone and everyone. Not so you can give a piece of your mind, but to deliver their daily bread.
Why should I Love out Loud?
In this crazy world of 7.4 Billion human beings, sometimes we feel insignificant and tiny. We live all over the place from L.A. to Siberia and it’s easy to believe we are dispensable.
“Why do I matter?” you ask. “Does my existence really make a difference?”
No matter what type of 9-5 you have, you are special and that is the truth.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up hearing the phrase “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I didn’t fully understand what that meant.
What I did know was how my dad never failed to speak to strangers. I witnessed my college friends spending Wednesday evenings making PB&Js. They would then walk the streets of Boston distributing them to the homeless. What I saw was friends hosting neighbors for dinner and game nights. There was never a catch, just good fellowship!
These are ordinary people who believed they had to power to bring change. People like you and me.
These powerful individuals believed that people are people.
People go through life constantly receiving messages saying, “You aren’t worth listening to.” Or “No one actually cares.” and other similar lies. By talking to them, you take a stand for them against their own self-doubt. Loving out loud is listening and conversing in ways that speak louder than the voices that oppress. – Nick Waters
People are beings that deserve respect.
We need love and attention. As a race, we persist in trying to find the meaning of life. We seek for fulfillment through whatever means possible.
Unfortunately, some people don’t believe they deserve respect or are worth the attention. They know they need love, but each time they yearn for it, they receive pain and hurt more than anything else.
Your goal is to shine a light by being a difference.
10 Easy Intoxicating Ways to Love out Loud
Maybe you’re still a bit skeptical.
I totally understand. I can guarantee you that once you get started, you’ll see how intoxicating it can really be.
Everything here is customizable to you!
The ideas are simple which means changing the world is easy. Not just easy, but intoxicating. In fact, kids do these all the time without trying, again and again. Adults have to teach kids not to talk to strangers. That’s how fulfilling it is.
The only downside is because they’re so easy, we’re tempted to skip over them. Make it a point to live out at least two of these ways this week.
1. Find someone and have a conversation.
This can be either with a co-worker or even someone you see at the bus stop every day. Smile, take the initiative and say hello!
If you think you suck at conversations and need some starters, I got you covered.
Keep in mind that the goal of a conversation is to practice the art of listening. You want to learn about this person so that you can understand people better.
You’re off to a good start.
2. Give a random friend a phone call.
Have you ever done this before? And I don’t mean when you need something. Nobody likes that.
It’s been years since you’ve talked to Felicia. Last you’ve heard she has two kids and lives out in Seattle. Don’t think twice. Call to say hello!
Random phone calls aren’t your thing? Try using holidays or birthdays as an excuse. Calling someone to wish them a Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas never did anyone any harm.
Did the conversation seem rushed? It doesn’t matter if they’re busy, you are too. If they seem interested in bringing the conversation further, set up another time. If not, you did your part.
The message you’re giving is: You are special and you’re worth my time.
Phone calls work wonders, especially today. The only time anyone gets unscheduled phone calls these days is for emergencies, so your friend will be taken by surprise.
People feel appreciated, important, and loved! They realize they mean something to you, and that speaks wonders.
3. Volunteer somewhere.
Go to a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, your local house of worship, you name it! There are so many places you can volunteer. Wherever there are people, there is work to be done.
Not much more I need to say about this one, you know what to do!
4. Talk to someone from “the other side.”
Walking down the streets of any city, what do you see?
The Chinese man selling cherries, a police officer, a romantic couple in the park, a homeless guy, the list goes on and on.
In a word, people.
You see people that are living their lives, but what you don’t see is their need to be loved. Maybe the guy selling cherries is loud, the police officer is rude, whatever.
Those are just excuses.
Just because someone is doing their job, doesn’t mean we can’t talk to them. Give them a reason to “whistle while they work.”
It’s overwhelmingly true that in today’s society, we pick and choose our surroundings. Most of the people we know have the same opinions and social standing as us. The ones that do not, don’t last long in our friend’s circle.
Find someone that doesn’t share your beliefs. Tell them something like this: “I know we have different political views, but I’d really appreciate it if you could take a moment to explain your side of the coin!”
They will be elated. You’ll realize that you can be friends after all!
5. Buy your cousins a random gift for no reason at all.
Do your cousins get in your hair? Maybe you also want to be a better aunt but aren’t sure how? Frustrating isn’t it?
Growing up as an immigrant kid meant I didn’t have relatives that weren’t back in the motherland. Relatives are super important whether you like them or not. Giving a random gift lets someone know you’re thinking about them.
If your cousins are younger than you this will be planting seeds for when they are older. Same goes for nephews and nieces. Using holidays as a launching point is also always good.
Let them know that just because there are a distance and age gap, it doesn’t mean you can’t be family.
6. Say hello to your neighbors.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Jesus Christ
We talked about this above. Funny thing is, we like the phrase as long as we are on the receiving end. But when we are on the giving end, we take that to mean anyone except the people we live next to. We seek for when it’s convenient, otherwise why bother?
Go on and give your neighbors a doorbell ring!
Having something to give them as well works like a charm. It establishes that you’re not trying to pour out your feelings on someone that doesn’t want to hear it. You don’t want upset neighbors who think you’re talkative and wasting their time.
Why not cook them a special food from a country of your ancestors? Do something random that will catch them by surprise.
7. Drop your boss or landlord a note of gratitude.
These are two individuals that most people tend to dislike. They tend to be demanding or annoying, but we forget that they’re still people with feelings.
Telling your boss that you’re thankful will shine a light on his day!
It doesn’t matter if it sounds like you’re sucking up. Truth is if you have good character, you would have no need to do that in the first place. Your boss would know you by your personality.
There’s no way in the world that the landlord will decrease your rent because of a thank-you note. That’s not what you’re in for. Who knows, you might get to understand them outside of the grumpy person you may think they are.
Manifesting a spirit of gratitude will make all your worries and troubles melt away. You’ll realize they’re not as important as you thought, and you will fill your days with smiles.
8. Go to an ethnic restaurant that you’ve never tried before.
The dinner table is a magical place in most cultures. The goal of going to a random ethnic restaurant is not only for their food. I want you to talk to the waiters on staff and ask them about their journey.
Some potential questions are:
- How did they get there
- What is their favorite food?
- How do you say please and thank you in your language?
- What reminds them of/do they miss about home?
In New York City, immigrants come from all over the world. I’ve heard stories of chefs escaping Tibet in the dead of night. Getting shot by Chinese soldiers in broad daylight wasn’t an option. They braved subzero temperatures in the shadows of darkness for liberty.
Conversation allows you to understand the other side. You can see why immigrants risked their lives for freedom.
Thank them for the spectacular meal (assuming it is) and take their card! Tell them you look forward to coming back soon and that you learned a lot.
9. Ask someone to tell you about their backstory.
You’ve been friends with someone for years but you don’t know much about them. Maybe your friend used to be a drug dealer in a past life and has an incredible story of how he escaped that.
When people tell you about themselves, they’re giving a piece of their heart to you. There are incredible stories out there. Regardless of whether they are true is up to you. What matters is that you took the time to listen.
Someone very dear to me used to be a witch doctor. Someone else I know used to sell drugs in Harlem. Hearing the past allows you to make better decisions for the future.
10. Tell someone what they mean to you.
We all have people in our life that are deadly important. Whether it be people that made us who we are today, or help sustain our sanity, we must appreciate them.
One of the best ways to do that is to tell them what they mean to you.
Alright, you don’t like getting mushy and saying emotional things. I get it.
If this person knows you well enough, it’ll mean the world to them. That’s worth being mushy for five minutes in my book.
Off you go.
These past 10 ideas are only small little ways that guarantee you can make 2017 a better year than last.
Your words are powerful. Your words carry meaningful emotions. What you say leaves an impact no matter how big, no matter how small. It’s intoxicating.
Do you have better ideas? Would you like to share your story after having tried a few of these things?
I want to hear from you!
Until then. Keep loving out loud!