Healthy RelationshipsMental Well-Being

Compassion for Others in Times of Darkness

January 30, 2023
A mother opening a card in front of her child.

For a lot of people, February is generally a happy month. Sure, it may still be a little cold, and the weather can get gloomy, but February is also home to Valentine’s Day, which many couples look forward to. However, for some people, February may not be a time of joy. The dreary days and excessive romantics might be a little too much for some to handle. It’s important for us to be aware of those around us and show compassion to others. Here’s how:

Write heartfelt notes of appreciation.

Valentines don’t have to be just for your partner—and they don’t have to be inherently romantic, either. Write a few nice notes to the people in your life: Your neighbors, your friends, your mail carrier, or anyone else you want to show your appreciation to. 

You can even accompany the notes with a small gift, like chocolate or another treat. It’s a simple way to let someone know you care about them, especially in the wake of a holiday where they might be feeling a little extra lonely. 

You could even write notes and prepare little gifts for people living in senior centers. Seniors may be feeling extra isolated during the cold months, and may be missing loved ones during Valentine’s Day. A nice note and a small gift to let them know they aren’t alone can go a long way.

Listen to the concerns of others.

You may have a friend who is spending Valentine’s Day alone or has been a little extra down due to the seasonal struggles of post-holiday blues and gloomy weather. Offer them a listening ear during these times of hardship, and if they do decide to open up to you, make sure you’re actively listening. Showing compassion means doing more than just nodding your head and pretending like you’re paying attention—show them you care by engaging with them meaningfully as they talk and let them get out everything they’ve been feeling.

Practice empathy.

Know that not everyone is looking forward to Valentine’s Day or even the month of February as a whole. Be sure to put yourself in other people’s shoes and be mindful of how your actions may be affecting others. If you’re going out for a romantic dinner and evening with your partner, maybe don’t talk about it in front of your friend who has been struggling lately. Instead, you could offer to do something with that friend on a different weekend, or invite them to go out with you another time. 

You can also encourage others who may be struggling by giving them helpful distractions to get them through the month. Whether it’s a nice book, a funny podcast, or the latest great TV show, you can help guide your loved ones through times of struggle.

There are plenty of ways you can show compassion for others during the month of February, but what it ultimately boils down to is simple kindness and treating others the way you would want to be treated.

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