Inspired by Marie Kondo’s best-selling books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, I’ve been doing some spring cleaning.
Going through my collection of books, I found two Sarah Ban Breathnach journals (Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude) I kept more than 15 years ago.
These simple journals are intended to be for recording a list of daily gratitudes. As Sarah says on the back cover of Simple Abundance:
Gratitude is the most passionate transformative force in the cosmos. When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection, reconnection.
The Simple Abundance journals I found in my book collection were from one of the most painful seasons of my adult life. Yet on page after page I found gratitude entries like these:
- being able to laugh
- the color and texture of yarn
On some days, I recorded key pieces of data about important events from that particular day. Remarkably, there were many days I managed to find things to be grateful for even when the events of the day had been quite painful — or even devastating.
In the last chapter of my upcoming book Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution for Partners of Sex Addicts I talk about partners who — over time — arrive at a deep sense of gratitude about their journey from betrayal to healing and ultimately empowerment.
Here’s a portion of Chapter 11 – Partners Beyond Betrayal: Trust, Gratitude, and Forgiveness:
I am grateful for recovery. When I started in recovery, I was doing it to help my addict and I was very resentful. I thought, “He is the one with the problem, why should I have to attend meetings?” The first time I heard another woman in a meeting say she was grateful for recovery, I thought, “She must be smoking something!”
Smoking something indeed! The idea of a “grateful partner of a sex addict” may seem ludicrous. How can a partner feel gratitude for all the pain and trauma she has gone through as a result of being in a relationship rocked by chronic infidelity?
Remarkably, many betrayed partners reach a point in their healing and recovery when they realize they would have never experienced the gifts, growth, or the empowerment they acquired without the unwelcome trauma—addiction—that came into their life.
It is a basic fact of human nature that we rarely grow without struggle, pain, fear, or conflict. And while no one would ever wish the kind of devastation partners experience on anyone, ultimately what we do with what happens to us is more important than what happens to us.
What are you grateful for?
Even in the darkest of times there are pockets of potential gratitude. A beautiful sunrise or sunset, an exuberant greeting from a pet at the end of a weary day, a hot cup of tea, a child’s laugh, or a simple cool breeze.
Find something to be grateful for today.
If you’d like to receive blog posts just as soon as they happen, enter your email address now in the Subscribe to Blog via Email form on the right of this page.
© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
All submitted comments are subject to editing to protect confidentiality and maintain anonymity.