You don't need to be grateful for everything to be grateful for the path you’ve chosen in the wake of everything. Heartbreak may or may not have led you to more desirable places, but how you choose to walk now also matters — and it’s okay to be grateful for that.
Sudden, tragic loss and longterm suffering is not usually something we can be honestly grateful for. Maybe in time, or by grace, we can offer deep and genuine gratitude for the tragedies, trauma, and heartbreak we’ve known. Maybe.
I think it’s okay if we offer our gratitude for something else, something we can control: the path we’re choosing consciously in response to what we couldn’t or can no longer control.
Sometimes I wish I could be only ever grateful, no matter what, but there are some frustrations I’m still working through, some sorrows that are deeper than an #alwaysgrateful hashtag on social media.
Here’s what I think is important.
Learning to Be Grateful for the Path You’ve Chosen
You may not be grateful for the wound itself. You can, however, gradually learn how to be grateful for the spiritual rooms you enter because of where your path has brought you. You can be grateful for the cracking open that happens, for the light that pours in, as a result of having such a deep wound.
Every fleeting, but real, moment of appreciation helps to pull us through hardship.
Appreciation is therapeutic intervention.
You can appreciate the ways you’ve grown into a fuller version of yourself, the ways you’ve shown up to sit with yourself through the pain, and your greater willingness to forgive and embrace the unknown (even if it’s still hard).
Your appreciation of yourself and who you’re continually deciding to become (and un-become) is part of your overall gratefulness for life: because you’re living intentionally. It takes courage to decide to think, speak, do, and be on purpose following heartbreak.
Mindfulness after heartbreak is bravery.
Your decision to be grateful for this path (or at least your decision to try to be grateful, genuinely, without forcing yourself to be) requires a certain amount of mindfulness.
Focusing on what there is to be grateful for now — the love that’s leftover, the lessons learned, the people who’ve helped, the people we’ve helped, the drama dropped, the peace we’ve made a priority — helps us rewrite the story.
It’s freeing to realize the power we wield in our simple mindfulness, in our gratitude. It helps us drop what no longer serves us. It helps us bear the heartache with more grace. It helps us see the beauty still left. And it breathes new life into our system.
In the wake of heartbreak, cultivating genuine gratitude is not ignorance or rejection, but a reevaluation of what we want to grow, nourish, or heal.
Genuine Gratitude Connects You & Restores You
A sweeping sense of gratitude — a reverence for life itself, greater than the dramas and traumas and suffering that comes with it — is medicine for the soul. It connects you to the miraculous nature of being alive: the gift of being here at all.
This greater reverence lifts you up out of what you’re not grateful for (the wound), even if only for a brief moment. That brief moment restores you, brings you back to love, gives you a glimpse of relief, adjusts your vision, and encourages you to bring beauty to the earth while you’re here as you are.
Restoration happens in a moment. This is the kind of gratitude that believes in another chance to try again.
“We are so scared and brave. We are so terrified and willing. We rewrite the definition of brave and it is this: love again. love again. love again.” — Fortesa Latifi
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What are you grateful for, in the wake of your heartbreak? (decisions you’ve made, how you choose to live and love and give, etc.)
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!
Only ever love,
P.S. Never forget how far you came, how much potential you have. Find your favorite poetry print that celebrates you, in all your mess and all your magic. Every time you see it, you'll smile.