My friend and colleague, Brandie Weikle featured a version of this post on her site www.thenewfamily.com. I am sharing a different version of it here with my readers because the message is important. If you’re going through the heartache and emotional rollercoaster of divorce or separation, or even suffering from your own version of PTSD as a result of divorce’s aftermath, I encourage you to read this post and take some of this advice to heart.
Here are some tips to finding gratitude amongst your current situation:
1. Keep A Journal
I’m talking about a Gratitude Journal. You don’t have to be a writer or even enjoy writing for this to be beneficial. It’s so quick and easy to do, and the benefits can be amazing. I used to write in mine each night before I went to bed. Find 5 minutes in the day during a time that works best for you.
Write down 3 things each day that you’re grateful for for that day. It could be something so simple as “I’m grateful that I didn’t have to make dinner tonight” or “I’m grateful that the drive thru line wasn’t long when I got there”. These can be the smallest of moments in your day, but by acknowledging them, you’re changing your brain patterns to focus on positive things instead of all the negativity currently surrounding and possibly consuming your life. This forces your mind to focus on the positive.
2. Make “The Big Stuff” List
Make a list of all the big things you’re grateful for. Family, children, friends, food, a job, etc. Whatever the big things are, name them. The little, daily things should be saved for your journal, but the first page of your journal should have the big items. This forces you to find smaller things throughout your day to be grateful for. It’s really all about the little things.
3. Listen to Friends
We can be of such value to someone by simply listening to them. You’re likely and hopefully relying on friends and family now as your sounding board, your support system and your cheerleaders. It’s time to turn the tables and be the listener. By listening to what’s going on in your friends’ lives, not only are you shifting your focus away from your current turmoil, but you’re also regaining the perspective that everyone has problems. I’m not suggesting that we celebrate our friends’ hardships but it does tend to help us balance our own emotions a bit better. In turn, this will allow us to be grateful for what we have, in addition to the value we feel when we’re able to be there for someone else.
4. Don’t Listen to Friends
Many people will have lots of advice and opinions to share with you. While you want to be thankful for their interest, concern and well intentioned help, you also need to know that you hold the power to make whatever choices are best for you. Nobody else holds this power and nobody else holds the knowledge that you hold about your feelings, your main players and your life. Listen, be grateful and then do whatever feels right to you.
5. Focus on the Haves; not the Have Nots.
It’s very easy to fall into a pattern whereby we focus on what we’ve lost. Turning it around in our minds is another way to help switch our brain patterns and allow us to feel grateful for the gifts we have. For example, instead of focusing on the fact that you don’t have a plus 1 with whom to attend a party, be grateful that you’re on your own time frame. You can leave when YOU want, socialize with those whom YOU choose. Instead of having to take your date’s feelings into account, you get to focus on you and you alone. This can be a very liberating feeling.
This divorce stage of your life will pass, but while you’re going through a rough time, finding gratitude can make this time a little less painful. I wish you luck, strength, gratitude and happiness.