My regular readers will know that I’ve had a rough time recently in my personal life. Life has been hard for many, many months. It would have been all too easy to fall in to depression and negative thought patterns. But I have two small children under my care and so, for me, this was not an option. I had to find strength from somewhere, to find the strength I need to carry on and to do all the things I want to accomplish, not only in my own life, but for my children.
I want to show my children a good example. A good example of a Mama, despite the problems we’ve suffered and the abuse they’ve witnessed. A good example of a person who works hard and manages to provide for the family, despite having to begin my businesses again from the ground up (having run them, successfully, previously, for over 10 years). A good example of a kind and loving parent, given the unfortunate circumstances that have led to them seeing one parent behaving less than optimally in this regard. A good example of being a successful woman, despite my husband’s attempts to prevent this.
People ask me how on Earth I manage to carry on. I reply “It’s not an option to not carry on”, which may seem flippant. But it’s anything but flippant. I decided, quite early on in the troubles, that this would not beat me. I would not be defined – my life would not come to be defined – by these troubles. Our lives would not come to be defined by these troubles. I am stronger than that, I told myself, repeatedly, until I came to believe it again. I am able, I’d tell myself. I can do this. I’d repeat and repeat.
Until I believed it. Until I got myself to a place where I was open to believe it and could believe it. And that belief gave me strength, the strength I needed to not crumple up and give in. I would, I realised, survive this, and would manage to come through it. But daily life is hard when you’re healing, when you’re a Single Mum who’s trying to heal herself. So I needed to find something to help me get through each day.
I began to look for things I was grateful for. 5 things. Each day. To start off with, they were really simple (but really not so simple) things: the sunset, the rain, a bird flying across my path, the wind blowing against my skin…. After a few weeks I noticed that I felt more optimistic, entirely more hopeful and, through this, stronger. An internal, internalised, strength, that kept growing.
Noticing, and giving thanks for the beautiful things I encountered in my life, enabled me to relegate the troubles I was/am having in my personal life to the backseat. The troubles no longer consumed my thoughts or my days. I now spent my days looking for the beautiful, looking for things I could be thankful for. This was a much more positive state of mind and one that, ultimately, saved me from being consumed by anger, sadness and frustration and a whole host of other negative emotions.
The simple act of registering the things I felt thankful for enabled me to save myself from being consumed by the negative.
That, for me, was a massive lightbulb moment in my healing process. I’d managed to find a way through the trauma of the abuse, through the healing process in such a way that I could re-find me, reconnect with all the things I appreciate about myself and which make me unique: my ability to see beauty, to see the positive, to find the positive in the darkest situation.
The simple act of giving thanks for things in my life allowed me to get my life back on track and to not lose myself in anger. It is enabling me to steer myself – and therefore us – through the muddy, unclear, waters of a divorce, a custody battle and a new life with only one parent at the helm.
I recommend the simple – but so very not so simple – act of keeping a gratitude diary to anyone who’s facing a dark period in their life (for whatever reason) and who needs a way of reconnecting with themselves by reconnecting with all the good that life has to offer.
Click here for a ‘How to’ post on keeping a gratitude journal.