When Valentine’s Day comes around, people inevitably find themselves in one of two categories: Love-smitten or love-sick.
But a couple years ago, I discovered a way to change the way we think about Valentine’s Day and every other day.
Life was great until suddenly, I couldn’t walk.
It was the first Sunday of Spring Semester 2015. My friends and I were going stadium singing, and suddenly, the pain completely overwhelmed me.
I got dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous and weak in the legs.
On top of that, I just really hurt. All over.
When this happened, I was engaged, and my fiancé and I were living a few hours apart. Every time he came to visit me, he was almost in tears seeing how hard it was for me to walk. I was trying; it felt like I was relearning how to walk.
I was in a wheelchair for the rest of the semester. I spent so much time at the doctor’s office trying to figure out what was going on.
Doctors ruled out a brain tumor, Multiple Sclerosis, nerve damage and many other horrible things.
And then during one test, the answer was there: I have hypothyroidism.
“The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland in your neck,” according to the British Thyroid Foundation. “It makes two hormones that are secreted into the blood: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are necessary for all the cells in your body to work normally.”
But my thyroid doesn’t release enough of the hormones.
“If too little of the thyroid hormones are produced (known as hypothyroidism), the cells and organs of your body slow down,” according to the British Thyroid Foundation. “If you become hypothyroid, your heart rate, for example, may be slower than normal, and your intestines work sluggishly.”
I don’t tell this story for pity.
All those nights, lying in my bed trying to sleep through the pain, eventually I learned to focus on what I do have, rather than what I don’t have.
And, friends, that made all the difference. Instead of laying there feeling bad for myself and focusing on all the pain, I started to lay there and count my blessings. I started to focus on the good things that I have.
No matter what your situation is, you can show gratitude for what you do have on Valentine’s Day.
If you have a significant other, show gratitude for them. If you don’t have a significant other, think about all the things you can be thankful for.
You have friends; you have an education; you have a Savior that loves you.
No matter how hard your life may be, no matter how much you struggle, I promise you have something good in your life. I promise there is something in your life you can be thankful for.
My hypothyroidism is still something that I’m learning to live with. It’s still a very big part of my life, and it will be for the rest of my life.
I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, but I’m so thankful for it.
That’s what Valentine’s Day is to me. It’s a day to be thankful for love and for our significant others. But let’s just be thankful for everything we have.
This Valentine’s Day, count your blessings instead of your trials.
Or rather, count your blessings and turn your trials into blessings.