Often when we are asked to think of things that make us thankful, we think only about positive things. “I am getting an A in algebra”, “I got a raise at work”, “the puppy did not pee on the carpet”, “that cat did not barf on the floor”. But, we can be thankful for all things and that includes the not so positive things that have happened in our life.
My parents divorced when I was young, it was for the best. It was hard to be the product of a divorced family and there are some horrible memories that I have as a result. But, because I went through a divorce as a child, I am better able to understand what my kids are going through as they too are the product of a divorce.
When I look at my marriage I focus on if I had not been married and then divorced, I would not have learned how important it is to communicate. In addition I would not have learned that you don’t always need to accommodate (be a doormat) when you are in a relationship. And that it is important to not lose yourself when you are in a partnership. I also learned how to ask for my needs to be met, with little to no guilt.
Chronic Physical Illness
I have had chronic pain since I was about 13. But, I think it made me a stronger person. Not sure I have ever gone more than a year without having body pain that was present all day. It helps me to appreciate the days when there is no pain, or a decrease in pain. I feel like I have greater empathy for others because I know what it is like to have pain and then still needing to persevere every day.
I have had challenges with a balanced mental state since I was in my mid-teens. I’ve met with numerous doctors and been on many medications. I have been given a laundry list of diagnosis’ and I have suffered. Throughout the last 17 years I have met so many people! (People! People!) My life has been made better by the people that I have met, they have touched my life and I believe I have made an impact on their life. My struggles to maintain mental stability force me to take in each day because I do not know if tomorrow is going to be a “good” day. I have learned the practice of mindfulness as a result and this has greatly improved my life.
Three major events that occurred in my life that were unfortunate and caused pain, emotionally and physically. But, the way I look at it, is how they improved my life. I have been made stronger due to the life that I have lived. Each time I am thrown a curve ball, I keep my eye on the ball and I swing. When we change our perspective, amazing changes can happen. The Mayo Clinic states that “positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health…it is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits.”
I challenge you to look at your life and find the hidden positives. Simple things like finding your favorite shampoo on sale or remembering to put the creamer away before leaving for work, these all count. And then if you expand and think about the bigger aspects of your life and what positives are hidden there, this will transform your life.
May you be blessed and have peace during this time of Thanksgiving.
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