Shift your focus. It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.
Since my D-Day I usually feel uncomfortable when I read my friends lists of their blessings on social media. I understand the value of writing down what you are thankful for but I’m not sure about how I feel about public postings on Facebook. I’ve watched enough Oprah in my life to understand that expressing your gratitude will bring more blessings into your life. It will shift your focus to the positive. Two years ago I had friends posting their blessings every day leading up to Thanksgiving. Then the 100 Day Gratitude Challenge took off and I read through my friend’s posts for what felt like endless months. I have two friends at work that spent the summer writing down what they were thankful for every day. I would walk by and reluctantly read their board.
It’s not that I dislike or resent reading the blessings of my friends but it stirs insecurities within me. I would read their comments and think about my husband’s affair and that seemed to cloud everything. I could make a list of things I am thankful for too but there was so much uncertainty in my life that it seemed daunting. It felt like a lie to tell the world I was thankful for a life I was so unsure about. A life I wasn’t certain I wanted anymore. So I tried to be happy for my friends and their ability to publicly tell the world what makes them happy. Secretly, it made me question my life more. Then something happened. A few days ago one of my coworkers asked to take a picture with me. I didn’t think twice and then he told me he was participating in an eight days of gratitude challenge. Each day posed a question that he needed to answer with gratitude. The day we took our picture he was asked to be grateful for someone that is plays a small but big part of his daily routine. And so there I was reading why someone who barely knows me is grateful for me and it made me realize how much I have to be grateful for in my life.
My life is not perfect. I’m not always certain that I love my life every moment of every day. I’m not always certain that the path I’m on is right or the words I’m typing are expressing what I feel or want to say. Sometimes I fall short in paying myself a bit of gratitude. So I’ve decided to torture you (my readers) with my gratitude list.
- I am grateful for my children. They are my lifeline, my greatest loves and inspirations. They are the reason I was able to get up out of bed after my D-day, they gave me a reason to live. They made me smile again and made me remember why family is the core of my being.
- I’m thankful for lifelong friends that celebrate life’s big and small moments. For friendships that pick up right where they left off the last time we were together. For my best friend that calls me every single morning to check in. I am grateful for her knowing almost the whole affair story but never pushing to know everything. I’m grateful for new friends. Women that help me live in the moment. Women who will dance with me until 4 a.m. in the kitchen or in a bar. Women who don’t judge. I’m grateful for all my friends who have given me strength during the past two years.
- The unexpected friend. I am grateful I found you. You are the only person in my life that knows my story, reads my blog and never judges. You’ve given me strength, insight, criticism (when I needed it), and love. You fill a space that would be empty otherwise.
- I’m grateful for the parts of my life that did not changed because of the affair. We stayed in our home and work at the same jobs. In the beginning I didn’t know if I could live here with the affair “ghosts” haunting me. I still don’t want to ever bump into Bat Shit when I’m out and about. I still have mixed emotions about my husband working a mile from her home. But I’m glad that we didn’t have to leave the town we are raising our children because of his affair. I’m grateful for the community I live in.
- I’m grateful for my husband. I’m grateful for all the nights he held me in his arms. I’m grateful for his honesty after I discovered the affair. I’m grateful for his willingness to do whatever it took to rebuild our marriage. I’m grateful for amazing sex. I’m grateful for a new found intimacy.
- I’m grateful for my imperfect marriage. It seems impossible but my marriage is stronger now. The intimacy, both physical and emotional, between my husband and I is deeper, spicier, and better than ever before. I’m grateful for a marriage that didn’t break. I’m grateful that in the day and age of broken promises and marriages that mine is weathering the storm.
- I am grateful for my inner strength. I am grateful for being able to trust myself and life. In a time where I could have given up, I didn’t. I won’t. Some days are more difficult than others but I’m still here. I still want to be here.
- I’m grateful I started this blog two years ago. I found strength and clarity not just in writing but in reading comments from you. When I couldn’t sleep at night I would come here for solace. This blog has helped me understand I’m not alone. I’m not crazy. Most of all, I’ve realized that I’m not an island. I couldn’t do this without the perspective and support from all my readers.
If gratitude lists make you cringe, I apologize. Thanksgiving is only a few days away and it’s a time to reflect on our life’s blessings. I know that holidays can be difficult as we heal after infidelity but I hope that everyone can see their life’s blessings. It may be a struggle to say this every single day but I am grateful for everything I am.