That first Thanksgiving when you’re newly separated can be brutal. It’s hard to feel thankful when you’re trying to cope with your awful divorce, and all you can think about is that your marriage is over, your kids are crying, finances might be tough, and the future seems bleak.
BUT, in the words of Taylor Swift, I want you to shake it off and really focus on all the things you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Here are 10 reasons to be thankful, and I’m really getting back to basics here because I think it is important not to lose sight of all the miracles—the gifts that are occurring FOR YOU every second.
1. YOUR KIDS. You might despise your ex right now, but without him or her, you wouldn’t have the people you love and cherish most on this earth. Take the focus off of “what HE did,” or “how SHE is acting” and hug, kiss, and LOVE your children. Feel gratitude that you have them and that they are healthy.
2. Your health. I recently had a little health scare and I know it sounds trite, but it really changed my attitude about a lot of things in life. When I thought something might be wrong with my health, I realized how unimportant money was, how little fighting about petty things meant, and how much my loved ones (my kids and boyfriends and family) rallied around me. HEALTH is everything. EVERYTHING.
3. Your family. Think about each family member individually and what they have taught you in life, what you admire and love about them, and why you are grateful for them. My mom, dad, siblings and other family members are treasures that I hold close to my heart.
4. Your friends. How important are they to you? Call and tell them!
5. Your dog? If you are a dog person, you have something that non-dog people don’t have. Its special and important.
6. Food, whether it’s on the table or in your fridge. Ok, so your ex has the kids this year and it’s killing you. You might not even have Thanksgiving dinner plans, and you might be sitting in front of the TV eating leftover Chipotle. So what?! You aren’t going hungry. Have gratitude for the food you are eating, no matter what it is. You can have a Thanksgiving dinner with your kids when they get back. Do it! It’s no different than the actual day. You can make it special!
7. A roof over your head. Again, maybe you are sleeping home alone on Thanksgiving and your kids are with your ex and his new wife. Say to yourself, “Who cares?” I will be in my warm bed in my home, and my kids will be coming home in a couple days. Also, if alone, I’d highly recommend renting “Homeland.” You will be so into the show, you will stay up all night watching episodes that you will thoroughly enjoy (with your jaw on the ground for hours at a time!). Trust me on this one!
8. The things that go right every day that you don’t even realize. Instead of focusing on what is wrong right now, try to realize how much is going right. Every morning, you wake up, you turn on your lights. They work. You make coffee. Your coffee pot works. You enjoy it. You go workout. You feel good. You go to work. You get a paycheck. Try to appreciate all that is going right, not your ex’s bad attitude or your loneliness (which I promise is temporary!)
9. Your bad marriage behind you. If you think about it, even if the divorce wasn’t your choice, you are better off now than you were in your destructive marriage. The truly bad part—the fighting or cheating or abuse or lying—is behind you. You are on your way to a better life, whereas when you were still together, you were not.
10. The rest of your life. Do you realize how powerful this is?! Don’t waste another day feeling sorry for yourself. You have the ability to go out and grab the life you really want. So much is in your control. Your actions, the way you treat others, your drive and determination and your love will all contribute to your happy, happy, happy ending!