Be your own Valentine. Here’s how.

The best gift is the one you give yourself every day

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O.K., let’s declare a moratorium on fretting over what your significant other is going to get you for Valentine’s Day. Or whether he or she will, or what it will mean. 

The best Valentine’s Day gift you’re ever going to get is the one only youcan give to yourself. That doesn’t mean you still wouldn’t mind a dozen red roses and chocolate truffles.

But it does mean that it’s time to start keeping different company with actually something, not someone, you hold most dear — your emotions. 

It’s time to cuddle up with more of your inspiring, positive emotions and less with your nagging, negative ones. How? By simply asking yourself a few questions that get you focused on the good news in your life. For instance:

·      What do I appreciate in my life?

·      Who am I grateful for in my life?

·      What did I learn this week from a mistake I made?

·      What do I truly love about myself?

·      What can I do today for someone to make them feel good?

·      What am I most proud of?

Now, isn’t this a Valentine’s Day gift truly worthy of you?

Typically any discussion of emotions around diabetes are always negative ones: Depression, denial, guilt, shame, worry and fear. I’ve watched this conversation lead people straight into their “unhappy place” where they yearn for pity or consolation.

But one Valentine’s Day, standing on the brink of such an event, I conducted an experiment. I was at a monthly diabetes support group meeting (Divabetic). I’d been invited to discuss the power of positive emotions, the basis of my book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes. That evening, instead of the women there introducing themselves by telling everyone what they were struggling with, I asked them to say one thing they love about themselves and one positive thing diabetes has given them. I since use this in workshops.

Here are some of the answers I got:

“Even though I’ve lost some of my vision from diabetes, I have so much more compassion for other people with a disability.”

“I feel very humble. I know I could have something much worse.”

“I got diabetes at ten and really like how it’s made me strong and responsible”

“I feel really valuable and worthwhile being able to help my family members who have diabetes”

“I eat healthier now and have lost almost fifteen pounds!”

“I love the friends I’ve made in this group.”

Each remark brightened the energy in the room. They laughed and smiled, they reached out hands to each other, not to console but to connect, and to celebrate the good news they heard ‘round the room. Only two of the women had to search for an answer, but even their search was an opening for something positive to fly in that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

It’s a universal law, we tend to attract what we focus on. Spend more time with your positive emotions like joy, hope, curiosity, passion, kindness, forgiveness and pride, and you will have more of these in your life.

Barbara Fredricksonpositivity expert and author, along with many positive psychologists like Martin Seligman, has conducted research that reveals positive emotions open our hearts and our minds making us more creative, flexible and resilient. They broaden our outlook, helping us to see more options. When engaged in positive emotions, our thoughts and actions surface more spontaneously, and we forgive our mistakes and let things roll off our shoulders more easily. Above all, they make us happier and healthier.

Sounds like an ideal prescription for managing diabetes, and life. Now if only we could get doctors to prescribe it!

That Valentine’s Day, when 27 women and I spent a few moments together loving ourselves (nothing kinky mind you), was one of the best Valentine’s Day gifts I’ve ever given or gotten, and I suspect my Valentinas would say the same.

Today, indulge yourself in a few of your own positive emotions, alongside anything else. Ask yourself one or two questions like: “What am I doing in my life that I like?” and “Who can I thank for what they mean to me?” 

Then every day let this be more of the company you keep.

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