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How to Find Gratitude for Life’s Unexpected Sh*t

Your heart gets broken. A loved one dies. Your drinking is escalating. Your spouse gets laid off.

All of these are awful and unthinkable and heartbreaking -  and they happen to people like us all around the world every single day. Which leads me to this: it may sound hard to believe, but I’m grateful - sincerely grateful - for some of the truly scary, hard sh*t I’ve endured in my life.  It’s not a conclusion I came to easily or lightly - and I suspect that you’re probably not all too ecstatic about embracing the junk in your own life.

All of these are awful and unthinkable and heartbreaking -  and they happen to people like us all around the world every. single. day. Which leads me to this: it may sound hard to believe, but I’m grateful - sincerely grateful - for some of the truly scary, hard sh*t I’ve endured in my life.  It’s not a conclusion I came to easily or lightly - and I suspect that you’re probably not all too ecstatic about embracing the junk in your own life.

Hear me out, though.

All the things (and people) that I’ve regretted or resented or wallowed in - none of that serves me anymore. Chances are whatever you’re holding onto isn’t serving you either. Because what they say about forgiveness is that it’s not about the other person(s). It’s about us - and freeing ourselves from the weight of all the crud we carry around day after day.

Does your gratitude list look anything like this?

  • Getting bullied and teased as a child.
  • Living with a mental health challenge.
  • Being the victim of trauma(s) - and feeling victimized for far too long.
  • Finding yourself in a massive amount of debt.
  • Drinking [insert drug/process] to excess and wondering what the hell is happening to your life - and why.

Probably not. But maybe it does, just a little. This is MY gratitude list -- and believe me when I say most of my lists look a hell of a lot cheerier than the above. But I’m going to show you how I found gratitude in the sh*t - and how you can too.

1.  Being the target of bullying growing up + feeling ALL the feelings

...makes me realize that my differences then have made me the empathic, unique rockstar of a human I am now.

2.  Having anxiety, OCD, and panic disorder

...allows me to be hyper-aware of of my mind, body, and spirit - and lets me tune into all aspects of myself through mindfulness, yoga, writing + community.

3.  Experiencing date rape at age 22 and an online emotional scam at 33 (aka getting catfished).

...then realizing I was the victim of physical and emotional traumas through self-work and therapy -- and that nothing was my fault. [Cue the scene from Good Will Hunting: It's not your fault, it's not your fault].

4.  Finding yourself in a massive amount of debt by age 35

...and getting myself out of denial-land by taking action and working with a credit counseling organization to become debt-free in three years or less

5. Being a binge drinker + excessive party girl

...and then getting sober at 24, allowing me to turn my life around and enter recovery - which has really been the greatest gift of all.

All of my self-work and a-ha moments have come as a blessing of being in recovery - from substance use disorder, from mental health challenges, from past trauma, from financial mess.

So let’s reframe our sh*t and let’s do it right now. I mean, RIGHT NOW. Life is too short to fumble around this planet feeling small and unworthy. We are radiant beings.

Tell me the sh*t YOU’RE *actually* grateful for. And free yourself.

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