If you’ve been paying attention to my last few posts, you might say that I’ve been pretty hard on Valentine’s Day. Admittedly, I’ve pointed out a lot of things you SHOULDN’T do on February 14th, and too much negativity is never good. So I’m switching it up a bit.
If you’re one of those warm and fuzzy types who hates feeling like they must shun Valentine’s Day just because it’s because it’s been swallowed by the Hallmark monster, I’ve got good news. A few years ago, a few equally-disgusted-but-loving people got it in their heads to fix February 14th — to restore it as a holiday that’s truly about love. Not just sticky-sweet romantic love, but all-inclusive, love thy neighbor, we’re-all-in-this-together love.
Generosity Day was founded in 2011 by Sasha Dichter of Acumen Fund. As Fast Company reports, Dichter had just completed the now famous “Generosity Experiment” in which he said yes to everyone who asked him for help for an entire month. After a conversation with colleagues at the 2011 Social Media Week, Sasha was inspired to take back Valentine’s Day from the chocolatiers and use its momentum to feed a different hunger.
Celebrated on February 14th, Generosity Day is one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone, to see how it feels and to practice saying “Yes.” The goal is to spend Valentine’s Day cultivating your practice of generosity, because in today’s fast-paced world, it is too easy to be disconnected and to have “NO” be your reflex.
It may be as simple as getting up early to shovel your neighbor’s driveway before leaving for work, offering to tutor a struggling classmate, or putting a dollar in the hand of the homeless man you pass everyday.
“Whether for you it’s an excuse to be simply, secretly, surprisingly generous, or whether it’s beginning the day with kindness, like tipping 100%, offering a rose to a stranger, or saying yes when you’re asked for help, together let’s transform February 14th with a million acts of generosity,” reads the official website.
Now that’s the kind of holiday I can really get behind: a day of celebrating selflessness instead of collecting trinkets, and changing someone’s day for the better without spending money or creating waste. It’s not about how much we spend, but about how much love and positivity we can spread, without thought for personal gain or accolades.
The completely volunteer-driven movement is always looking for more people to help manage, promote and create. If you’re interested, check out the “Help Evangelize” tab on the Generosity Day website, or check them out on Facebook.
Image via Acumen Fund