With Thanksgiving coming up, we're always encouraged to take stock of all the things that we're thankful for and the positive blessings we have in our lives like family, financial stability, children and jobs.
But what about showing gratitude and thankfulness for the things in our lives that may be challenges, disappointments and let downs? How do we handle those?
Throughout my life, I've often found that some of my biggest blessings have come about because of mistakes, disappointments or life just sucking in general. It's true. If you stop and really give some thought to a few of your biggest flounders, you can probably find the silver lining and blessing in each of them.
Allow me to start.
My Divorce. No one ever goes into their marriage with the expectation that it will end but in 2009, mine did and looking back, it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. Once I was able to leave the dead weight behind, my life blossomed and more so, my dreams, hopes and goals began to take shape. If I hadn't left my ex-husband, I would have never met Michael, had our beautiful daughter, have my writing take off, have a better relationship with a better man and be as successful as I am today. I was so mired down in the crap that was my bad marriage that a large part of my soul, and everything along with it, died. To break free from it was like a rebirth.
Lost Friendships. Friendships in a very small way are like marriages - it takes a lot of time and effort to make them work. Unfortunately, not all friends feel the same way and in fact, some friendships become toxic. Whether it's because you no longer see eye to eye on life, have grown apart, have a falling out or simply just wander away from one another, friendships that end can be hard.
Or are they?
When I think back to what I thought were my best friendships, and if I'm being honest, I often remember more of the issues and not enough of the good things. I also remember how it felt to have the weight of such a bad friendship lifted from my shoulders and am thankful because if I hadn't lost those friends who weren't truly good for me, I may have missed out on the friends that have come into my life since that have been true and lasting friendships.
Lost Job Opportunities. We've all been there at one point or time in our career: you interview for the "perfect job." Everything seems to be going great in the interviewing process and then BAM. You don't get the job. I know this because I've had this happen to me a couple of times.
When disappointments like this happen, it's easy to fall into the "Woe is me" trap and carry feelings of defeat, frustration and anger. I've done this myself but honestly, those missed job opportunities have all been blessings in disguise. After losing one particular job offer, I found out a few months later that the company I interviewed with was going through horrible financial distress and was laying-off over half of their workforce -- the job I interviewed for included. By the time I found out this information, I was already happily employed elsewhere but I still shudder to think what would have happened if I had gotten that job. Thank goodness for unanswered prayers!
Fights with my Spouse. You're probably scratching your forehead on this one, right? I mean, who really feels blessed after fighting with their spouse?
Hear me out.
I don't know about you and your spouse/partner/significant other, but when Michael and I argue, it's usually because of some misunderstanding or point of view the other person doesn't understand. Once we're able to get past our own emotions and actually put forth the effort of truly listening to each other, we learn far more about one another and what each of us needs in order to thrive in our relationship. I'm thankful for those weak moments that make us stronger and a more united couple. The making up from fighting isn't a bad thing either.
What disappointments do you have to be grateful for?