That first Thanksgiving when you’re going through a divorce 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 feel stressful, and the future is scary. But I know you know this deep in your heart: There are so many reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving, despite your awful divorce.
It’s not easy, but this article is about focusing on all the things you have to be thankful for, despite your awful, awful divorce.
Here are 10 reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving, 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 really be at odds with 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.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a cancer survivor. Having cancer makes divorce seem like it’s not a huge problem. I don’t want to minimize your awful divorce, I promise. When I was getting divorced, it was a HUGE problem and I know you are hurting. But, when I had cancer, I realized that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Try to look in the mirror and thank God for your healthy mind and body. And, treat your mind and body well by taking care of them.
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. They might drive you crazy, at times, but they have your back. They are loyal and they love you unconditionally.
4. Your friends.
I have a few wonderful and true friends who have been there for me throughout my entire adult life. I also have countless acquaintances who are fun to go out with. It’s important to know the difference. Make sure to let your true friends know how how you feel about them and how much you appreciate them.
5. Your cat or dog.
I cannot express how thankful I am for my dog. He has made me such a better person; more patient and giving. He has been there for me during hard times. I remember when I broke my wrist and got home from the hospital, I parked myself on the couch under a blanket and my dog lay at my feet for the entire day. He would not leave my side. It meant the world to me. If you are considering fostering a pet or even buying one, I’m here to push you over the edge into doing it! You will get to a point where you can’t even imagine not having him or her.
6. Food, whether it’s on the table or in your fridge.
Let’s say, as part of your awful divorce, that 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. While it’s a big bummer, think of it this way. You have food to eat and you will not go hungry. I know that sounds pretty basic but it’s real. Try to have gratitude for the food you are eating, no matter what it is. Also, you can still 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. Your home.
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 comfortable house and my kids will be coming home in a couple days. Take advantage of binge watching some shows. Here are a few of my favorites: Virgin River, Rectify, Homeland, Ray Donavan, Better Call Saul, Bloodline, Fauda. Enjoy the peaceful time alone. It’s OK! It won’t be like this next year, I promise.
8. The things that go right every day that you don’t even realize.
Instead of focusing on your awful divorce, and all the things that are 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. You’re healthy. Your kids are healthy. 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.
Regardless of how awful your divorce seems, the bad marriage part is behind you. You aren’t in it anymore. If you think about it, even if the divorce wasn’t your choice, you are better off now than you were in your marriage, because obviously it wasn’t working. 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?! I know at times you are feeling: sad, depressed, still in shock, maybe, angry, resentful, stressed, fearful, bitter… The good news is, as time goes on, you will feel these feelings less and less, and feel more and more positive feelings, like hope and inspiration and empowerment and self-love and independence and happiness. Parts of your awful divorce are out of your control, but so much is in your control, like the decisions you make, the people you surround yourself with, your professional life, and how you parent. That’s huge! These things will all contribute to your happy, happy, happy ending!
Like this article? Check out, “20 Things I Wish I Could Have Told My Newly Separated Self”