While Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate love and friendship, it can also make some people feel sad or lonely.
A friend of mine asked if I could remember the most difficult moments in my life. I said, “Yes.” That was back in 2000, when I found out my dad had advanced liver cancer and needed a transplant.
Then, he asked if I could remember who helped me. I said, “Yes.” I could still hear my husband’s voice saying, “I am here for you, do whatever you need to do.”
Finally, he asked me if I remember how that made me feel? I, for the third time, responded, “Yes.” I was much younger and my dad was my whole world. My husband gave me the strength I didn’t have to help my dad win his fight.
Three simple questions showed me how important emotional memories are – the great impact of being around good people when I needed them the most. I don’t remember all my husband’s exact words, but I remember how he made me feel, and that he cared.
Everyone faces hurdles. It can be a painful illness, a financial crisis, a difficult trauma or any type of loss. We all can claim that we have had overwhelming days and busy lives, but nevertheless, we can carve some time to love one another.
Goodness in Doing Good
It’s proven by science that it feels good to do good. In my experience, the gift of love and comfort is instrumental when living with lupus. That includes self-love and compassion toward others, and turning my focus to helping others has helped me the most.
I have always had very high expectations of myself. I’m constantly aiming at a higher goal and working to the next objective, not appreciating what I have conquered. However, that has increased my anxiety levels and stress, which does not help me nor my lupus condition.
Helping others has the opposite effect on me. It gives me a sense of purpose, happiness and peace. Turning my attention to others helps me put my own issues in a different perspective.
I invite you to honor yourself during Valentine’s Day with simple pleasures such as calling up a good friend to say thank you, watching an uplifting movie, and also taking time to help others.
Love and Hope
At some points in time, doors close, doors open, and we can see that change is a constant. But that is what molds us. We are a sum of everything we have done.
Small acts of love can have a big impact in one’s life. Love and true friendships heal. It heals others and it heals us. Love gives us hope.
Self-acceptance, and compassion can change lives. I know because it has changed mine. Choosing every day to be more content with where I am, while working towards where I want to be, has increased my belief in myself, my optimism and my faith.
Carefully pick your life choices. They are endless. But as you choose, seed love to nurture your soul and be your “best friend forever.” Find a reward that not only makes you happy, but also does good for you and for others. Embrace the unknown and accept your vulnerability. It takes a lot of courage to show up.
Life goes so fast, and with that in mind, I feel that lupus is a call for the appreciation of being … who we are today, and where we are now.
My suggestion to you is to give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift that is priceless:
- Forgive your mistakes; commit to a better you, and work for it.
- Surround yourself with positive people and thoughts, and reach out to a good friend who wants the best for you.
- Show how you care for others, by caring for yourself.
It’s Valentine’s Day! How will you celebrate?
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
Hope was diagnosed with lupus in 2013. Since then, she decided to learn more about her condition, and explore ways to feel better. Before recently changing her life aspirations to focus on the lupus cause, she worked for several years in the technology industry, holding different engineering, marketing and leadership positions. She is Brazilian, and lived in the Silicon Valley and in the UK. Now, the lovely state of Oregon is her home. To learn more about Hope, visit lupushope.org