I just got home from grocery shopping for Thanksgiving. Everywhere I turned I saw reminders of how I should be thankful. Well what if I am not thankful?
It’s so easy to be warm and fuzzy when things are going well but what happens when you hate your life? Swallowing your turkey and cranberry sauce is a lot easier than choking down a false sense of gratitude.
While I am actually in a very happy place now, I have been there. I have had hard times and the holidays made it that much more crappy. I remember when I was newly divorced and it was my first Thanksgiving with just me and my baby daughter. My family tiptoed around me as if nothing was wrong and I obliged with smiles and laughter. You know what?
I wasn’t grateful for being divorced.
I wasn’t thankful for being a single mom.
I wasn’t overly thrilled to go home to an empty house.
No, I was not thankful at all.
When everyone else was smiling and counting their blessings, I was falling deeper into a place of discontent.
Here’s the good news: if you are going through hard times, don’t feel the need to type up the 100 things you’re thankful for right now. It is fine to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. It’s called “reality.” Pushing those feelings down and making believe they aren’t there only makes things worse. Trust me on that one.
So, now that you have a gratitude pass for this year, I want to play devil’s advocate. I want you to dig down and try and find just one good thing that has come out of your current situation no matter how pathetic it may seem. There’s got to be at least one.
If you lost your job, you don’t have to see your boss anymore. If you recently broke up with someone, you can watch your shows instead of football. Maybe the person you lost is no longer suffering. In a financial crisis? Perhaps there is a friend who opened up their heart and helped you out. Hopefully you can find one.
Thinking back, if I had to pick one thing, I was probably thankful that I wasn’t late for Thanksgiving. My ex was known for being late but that year, I was right on time. I obviously had to dig deep to find that one because finding any silver lining in my situation was not an easy task. Despite the reality of a divorce, truth be told, there were aspects that were actually quite freeing. So there, I thought of one and you can too.
No matter how absurd, trivial or even funny, give yourself the gift of one thing that you are thankful for in your current situation. Yes, life may suck and a houseful of family and friends can make it that much harder, but you deserve one little piece of goodness.
If nothing else you can be grateful that you are not alone. There are loads of people in the same boat. So, take a breath and try to enjoy the day. If you don’t, at least there is some peace in knowing that it only can get better from here.