"When we lose one blessing, another is often, most unexpectedly, given in its place.” – C.S. Lewis
When gratitude is the furthest thing from your mind
Much of the information about gratitude focuses on finding things and people in your life that you are grateful for and keeping a daily gratitude journal listing 3 to 5 things that you’re thankful for. While this is a good practice, we’re going to explore the kind of gratitude that’s more difficult to cultivate. This is the kind of gratitude when you’re feeling down about love, when your love life isn’t working out the way you want it to, and when you’re stuck in the “why”…not able to make sense of what’s happening or happened. It’s when gratitude is the furthest thing from your mind.
If you aren’t used to looking for the gift that comes from difficult situations, you’re not alone. Focusing on the negative keeps you down and stuck. Dwelling in negativity for too long becomes detrimental to your overall life (e.g. health, job, relationships with friends and family, etc.). When your heart is aching, it’s hard to look through eyes of gratitude. Your gut reaction is to become immersed in denial, anger, bargaining and depression.
So, what’s the best thing to do in this situation? Consider a more empowering way to transition from heartache to hope. Try gratitude to change your life for the better. If you’re experiencing heartache, process your emotions and don’t let them keep you down for too long. Set a time limit for your depression and then make a conscious effort to move forward. If it becomes difficult, ask a good friend for help. For instance, every time you start talking about your ex, have her ask you, “What is one positive aspect that came from your relationship ending?” This starts to train and open your mind to look for the gift in difficult situations.
Shift your love life with gratitude
In order to be grateful, you must first have the desire, and an open mind and heart. If you’re resistant and closed off, do things that will expand you and soothe your soul. Get a massage, spend time in nature, smell the fragrance of flowers, wrap a cozy blanket around you, listen to uplifting music, get together with positive friends, ask mind expanding questions, etc.
You can also sit relaxed in a quiet space with your eyes closed. Get comfortable and breathe slowly in and out. Visualize your breath moving directly through your heart until you feel peaceful. Think about someone you love. Perhaps it’s your child, your niece, your sister or someone else. Feel in your heart the soft and warm feelings you have about that person. Do this until you feel expanded. Then see yourself as a child and feel this soft and warm feeling of love for yourself. Let this loving feeling radiate throughout your body.
Ways to find unexpected gifts from your heart ache
Once your mind and heart are open, shifting your perspective opens up possibilities to find unexpected gifts. Answering these questions will help you go from the dark to seeing the light.
What lessons will I learn from this experience?
What role did I play in this relationship not working out?
What were the common characteristics in this and other relationships? In which ways did I contribute to the unhealthy characteristics?
How do I want to change in order for my next relationship to be even better?
How can I grow from this relationship?
How is this bringing me closer to the right man?
How is this supporting me in creating the love I desire?
Take the insight and direction from your answers to move forward in a healthy manner. If negative thoughts start creeping in and pulling you back, bring your attention these answers. Then take action to move forward.
Keep gratitude top of mind
Shifting your love life with gratitude after a heartache takes a lot of focus and dedication. Surrounding yourself with a positive environment and supportive family and friends to stay on track.
Learning to be grateful for difficult love situations is a skill that will serve you well throughout your lifetime. Even the best love relationships have their ups and downs. When you’re grateful for the wonderful and difficult times, your relationship will be more fulfilling and you’ll have a deeper connection with your partner.
My wish is for you to have the love life you desire and to do your best to work through difficulties with gratitude. What difficulties in your love life can you be grateful for?
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