It’s Valentine’s Day today, and as I sit here writing this article, I glance over at the beautiful bouquet of flowers, sent by my loving husband with a sweet card attached. I had a slow morning so I indulged myself by watching Good Morning America and The View. On GMT, an adorable young couple got engaged on the air – he visiting her first grade classroom secretly, she surprised and teary eyed, then thrilled, they so obviously in love. On The View, Sherri Shepherd’s husband of only a few months surprised her with his rendition of “My Girl” and a huge bouquet of red roses. It’s a wonderful, heartfelt excuse of a day to celebrate love. But what if you’re not happily in love today?
For singles (and I’ve been there myself), Valentine’s Day is yet another reminder that you are without that special someone. You may wish you didn’t have to go to work and see all the other flower arrangements arriving all day for your happy co-workers. You definitely don’t want to see all the advertising centered on diamond engagement rings and other sparkly gifts of love. But don’t let it get you too far down. Instead, let this Valentine’s Day be a wake-up call for your life. The good news is: you CAN be happily in love next year at this time. But it won’t happen by accident. It may take a little intention and work on your part. Here are just a few tips to get started.
First, stop complaining, get active, and focus on the future. Passive and complaining is the sure-fire path to more Ben-and-Jerry’s nights watching reruns of You’ve Got Mail while you reminisce about the last two or three guys who got away. Focusing on losses while dwelling on the past actually creates more of that mind-set, according to brain research. Neural pathways hold memories, and it turns out that the more you re-live painful memories, the stronger the neural pathway. Any reminders and you automatically go down that pathway in your brain. Do that frequently enough and you can gradually lose the belief in a better future.
You create a new focus AND a new feeling when you envision a better future. The more you focus on a positive vision, the more you reinforce the belief that it will actually happen. Research shows that a positive future outlook leads to better brain chemistry overall. It's an upward spiral - create a vision, review it often, feel good, believe in a better future, attract others. Homework: write a vision statement of your future relationship, as detailed as possible, with lots of positive feeling words. Type it or write it in a beautiful font and post it on your bathroom mirror. Glance at it every day. Your brain automatically remembers every word of it and looking at it will deepen the belief that you are moving toward it.