Finding Gratitude Through Hardship

We finally reached an agreement about breaking up, which is to separate for three months and focus on our own lives in the meantime. It was his idea, and at first I disagreed, thinking that one works on one’s relationship issues while IN relationship, not off an island by themselves. I came close to telling him to forget it, I’m not doing a three-month separation, he can take his self-care and focus on it all he wants for the rest of his life for all I care, and good luck finding someone who’d treat him as well as I have… but these are words I don’t speak. I wanted the strength to put closure on this, and I don’t know if it was my pride, weakness, or an inability to let go completely, because I just could not do that.

Then I found this blog and realized this may not be a bad idea at all. As the writer points out, a separation would give us each time alone to sort out our thoughts and feelings.

What I think may happen for me is that I will no longer want to be with him at the end of that three months. A part of me hopes for this because I suspect it will make the experience less painful, easier, and I’ll feel more empowered. What I really want is for him to change, or at least makes an ongoing effort to change, and commit to the relationship, and not overreact so much to the things I say. Do I believe that will happen? Doubtful. What I’ve been trying to do is learn to accept him as he is: someone who has mood swings that affect how he treats me. He gets upset and refuses to talk to me—refuses to listen to me–and that right there I find incredibly painful. Having grown up in a family as the lost child, the forgotten one, I find it unbearable to be ignored. One thing’s for sure. If this relationship does not work out, Rule Number One for my next relationship: I will not allow myself to be ignored.

I suppose that should be a new guideline if our relationship works out, for it to work. But then, what if he can’t help it? If I were to accept that part of him, would that be growth for me, or would it be allowing someone else to treat me badly?

Here’s what I want. Let’s say he can’t help but have an episode of darkness in which he needs a couple of days alone. Then he can say, “I love you, and I still want to be with you, but I’m having an episode right now, and I don’t feel like myself. I need a couple of days alone.”

That seems so easy to me! Instead, what happens is that I say the wrong thing at the wrong time, ie, I express a negative feeling that’s unacceptable to him, and he says forget it, this is over, you don’t understand me. It’s like I gave birth to a teenager.

What if I gained a sense of empowerment, used my voice, and he allowed me to speak, and we stayed together in the relationship? That’s just crazy talk right there. But who knows? Crazier things have happened. We will both have to change for this relationship to work.

Enough projecting about an unknown future. In the meantime my focus lies on taking everything one day at a time.

In The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie writes:

“One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It’s called gratitude. We learn to say thank you for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don’t like this experience, but thank you anyway.

Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.”

It’s an eye-opener for me, to take a grateful attitude for the hardships in my life. To know that this difficulty can become a blessing, a gift, something that one day I can look back on and feel grateful to have experienced—that I can be grateful for this today–because it’s allowing me grow into the woman I want to become. Good things are already emerging from this. For one, I’m spending more time on my friendships. And I’ll have more time for school. At work, I’ve kept a positive attitude and stayed busy. I made a decision to have a can-do attitude about both work and school. Maybe I’ll take an extra class next semester and try to get through school faster. Maybe at some point I will become a manager at work while continuing my education. I can do whatever the hell I want, and I have no one else to consider. Freedom.

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This is an affirmation from Louise Hay that I’ve used for my daily mantra the past few days. My life gets better all the time. Good is coming from this. If I forget what the words are to whatever affirmation I pick for the day, I just improvise: I’m a good person, God loves me, I deserve the good things that are coming my way, I’m learning valuable lessons, I’m strong, I have a good life. And I do. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Lately I’ve been listening to the “Happy Folk” station on Spotify. While I can’t say it completely lifts my mood, it saves me from losing my mind. I like to think on some subliminal or subconscious level it’s helping to create new grooves of positivity in my brain. The lyrics offer hope in a world of darkness. If the songwriters can pull through their hardships and create an inspiring song for others, I can get through this.

While I still feel heartbroken, and it’s hard sometimes to offer someone a genuine smile, like the kind that comes from the eyes, I just keep repeating these mantras and focusing on the positive. It doesn’t mean I’m covering up my feelings of sadness, but I don’t want to wallow in self-pity or allow myself to stay in those dark, hopeless places for too long.

And I want to remember this time. Someday when I’m bored with the routine and mundane acts of everyday life, I want to remember how piercing and grinding this pain feels, so that I can appreciate not being there. I want to appreciate this time now too, for the good things it will bring, for the good things it’s already brought to me. One day at a time.

I like this song because it reflects how we can’t rely on other human beings to rescue us. Only faith in love—God—can save me, because God is love.

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