A Day to Forgive and Not Forget
I have always felt that Valentines is a day to say, “I love you,” to my friends and family. I deliver this message with a text, or a quick face-time chat, or email, or snail mail-whatever medium I know the recipients use to communicate.
The clichéd Valentine’s dinner, gifts, flowers, chocolate, and jewelry are fine, but do we really need to buy something? Isn’t unconditional love the best gift we can deliver one another? What if Valentine’s Day were a day for forgiving? Can you imagine hundreds of thousands of people putting their egos aside despite something that was done or said to them in the past that created a wall they never anticipated could come down?
Compound the ability to forgive year after year. I can confidently say that there certainly would be more love between everyone. As we forgive others for not doing or saying the right thing, we give permission to our friends and family to love themselves. Letting go of the past, of attachment to memories of moments that hurt us, is what heals the heart. Our pool of Valentine’s love becomes much larger.
Recently, I had thoughts of ill will toward Richard Sherman, the outspoken Seattle Seahawks cornerback. The ranting comments he made about San Francisco 49er wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the loss really unsettled me. The 49ers are my favorite professional football team. When the 49ers lost the conference title game to the Seahawks, I thought to myself that I was going to root for Seattle in the Super Bowl in honor of my allegiance to West Coast teams.
When Sherman went off on his unprofessional tirade on national television, it completely changed my mind about rooting for Seattle. My thoughts were not kind.
Later, I realized that Sherman is like us all. He has moments when he forgets his better self. Fortunately for us, our mistakes are not published and endlessly re-run in the media. I did find myself forgiving Sherman and was extremely proud of Crabtree’s gracious public response. The heart of Valentine’s Day should be a practice of remembering that when people we know or see commit transgressions, that one moment in time need not define who they are.
Gift or No Gift on Valentine’s Day
Advertisers put a lot of pressure on the public to go out purchase gifts in the name of love. They do this by playing on the general fear of displeasing one’s partner. The act of giving a gift is supposed to demonstrate our love. If you don’t buy something, the consequences will weigh heavily. The constant advertisements, and the inquiries from friends and family as to how you plan on demonstrating your love, puts a lot of pressure on us all.
I recently saw a video on TV about a young man that brought flowers home for his girlfriend. Because she was experiencing PMS, she counted the flowers, looked at her boyfriend, and said, “You cheap… There are only eight roses here!” Although I laughed at the time, later I had to ask myself what message did the heartfelt gift giver hear? That coming up short is the same thing as not buying a gift at all?
Not A Couple
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about couples. It’s about celebrating friendship with or without a romantic partner. It’s for being in relationship with people we love. My mother always sent me a Valentine’s card until she became blind from her diabetes. Consequently, I send my children and siblings Valentine’s wishes. For me, Valentine’s Day is about calming my busy life and opening my heart to extend a gesture of gratitude to people that I don’t want to take for granted.
To our loyal diabeteshealth.com and Diabetes Health magazine subscribers, I love you and want to thank you for being part of our 24 years. We have often exchanged both warm and emotionally volatile comments, but the bottom line is that Diabetes Health will always be a stage for people with diabetes to have a voice. As you can see, we don’t have any one author who is the face of Diabetes Health. Everyone who writes and comments is a star in our constellation.
It is with tremendous gratitude that I want to wish