With all that has transpired in my personal life during the past month, there is a lot I could be angry about. First, there is the betrayal and the deception, the false promises I believed. I could be angry about those. Then last week my ex told me to leave our home. This causes me to be temporarily homeless for the next few weeks. I could certainly be angry about that. Third, there is the financial implication of this break-up, which will have significant impact to me but very little to my ex. That’s cause for anger. Finally, I could be angry about the destruction of a nine year friendship. I think many people would agree these are all pretty valid reasons for anger. I’ve had several friends who are angry for me and many others have tried to actively encourage my anger. I know enough about psychology to know anger is necessary for healing and there are useful aspects of anger.
I confess, I do have moments of anger. I also have moments of sadness, depression, and grief. Every day I seem to cycle through multiple emotions, repeatedly but not predictably. In fact, if there is anything I can count on right now it’s that my emotions will be volatile. I’m still crying almost every day and I’m still not eating regularly. I’m still in the “crisis mode” of this trauma, I’m still right smack in the middle of it.
But during the past two weeks, I have been absolutely and completely overwhelmed with appreciation for the number of people who have stepped up to support me through this trauma. I have been floored by the offers of support and help, the outpouring of advice and friendship. The two most common themes of advice I’m hearing are: (1) time heals everything and (2) I will be much better off after I recover from this. I believe both of those facts, I really do. And I can already identify positive outcomes of this situation. I also realize that many people are far worse off than me when it comes to divorce. When I look around, I see people dealing with custody battles and real estate issues and lawyer fees. Given how bad this situation could have been, I know I’m pretty lucky.
There’s a fair amount of research out there that shows you cannot simultaneously feel both anger and gratitude at the same time. There’s also a lot of research that demonstrates the physical and emotional benefits of gratitude. So I thought I would take time while I am still in the midst of this trauma, to acknowledge all the things I am grateful for today.
Here is today’s gratitude list
- Friends who offered me places to stay. I’ve had no less than eight different friends offer me a place to live for the next few weeks. I signed a lease on a rental home, but I cannot move in until July 2. Which means for the past week and the next two weeks, I’ve needed a place to live for both me and Charly. I’ve had two friends offer to let me housesit, and six other friends offer me their home, no questions asked. I didn’t even have to ask anyone, these offers just came pouring in. Which makes me want to cry, to realize how blessed I am with friends.
- The friends who are hosting me now. They are awesome and amazing, and have taken in both me and Charly and have made it all work out great. Not only do we have our own room, bathroom and privacy, we also have a pool for Charly to swim and a great neighborhood for dog walks. And this morning they made waffles for breakfast. I am grateful.
- All the people who offered their support. I have received dozens and dozens of emails, text messages and phone calls, from people who just want to show their love and support for me. One friend called me Thursday from 8,000 miles away, just to tell me he loves me. Some people volunteered to share their own divorce stories, others have offered to help me move, while others have offered to buy me drinks, take me running, or do whatever else might make me feel better. Six friends are helping me pack. My sister-in-law is helping me shop for household stuff online. Family and friends have literally come out of the woodwork to let me know they support me, and feeling that support is just tremendous. This has also helped me realize the value of social networking and technology, because these technology tools can actually be instrumental for helping people connect and heal. It’s SOOOO important we not isolate during trauma, and I’m grateful for the technology that has enabled people to connect and support me through this situation.
- Support at work. My coworkers are just amazing, and like my friends their support has been fantastic. They have let me cry, listened to my experience, and have shown consistent support from day one. My ex and I were supposed to have hosted a work party at our home this weekend, but another coworker immediately stepped in to host the party because of this situation. My coworkers rock.
- I am gainfully employed. Despite the challenges of this situation, I have my own career and my own income. I am not financially dependent on my ex, and I fully realize this puts me in a much better situation than many women who go through divorce. I have the financial means to take care of myself through this life change.
- I have health insurance that enables me to afford professional counseling. Having good health insurance is always important, but especially so when it comes to times like this. I’m also grateful that I’m not dependent on my ex for health insurance. And it’s good to live in a country where I have access to professional counseling.
- I have my health. I realize my health will enable me to bounce back from this, and I don’t take my good health for granted.
- I don’t have to go to court, hire lawyers or fight custody battles or divorce decrees. This separation is much less complicated than most. Yeah for that.
After taking time to listen to friends, family and coworkers, I know I will survive this. I know I will survive because everyone else who has been here before me survived. Not only did they survive, but most of them came out of the situation better off than before. Both the research science and the stories from friends demonstrate we humans are incredibly resilient. More resilient than we typically realize.
There is one personal change I am already seeing in myself – I am becoming more compassionate. Having my heart broken has made my heart be more open to other people. In the midst of my pain, I seem to be more in touch with other people going through pain. I have more patience, more sympathy, and more time to listen to others.
At the end of the day I know I will survive this. I hope I can grow and learn from this, even though I know it’s too soon to glean the lessons yet. Right now I’m just trying to get through each and every day, one day at a time. I’m just grateful that when I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night, I know I’m not going through this experience alone. Coming to that realization is a true blessing.
Thank you to every single one of you who has reached out to support me. I am grateful for every one of you.