Happy New Year! I am thrilled to be kicking off 2023 talking about gratitude; it feels like perfect timing. First, let’s start by answering the question many women have about what gratitude is.
What is Gratitude?
What is gratitude? From my experience with divorce recovery clients, it is one of the most positive emotions we can feel. It is when we women focus on what we have and what we are thankful for – an attitude of appreciation.
Everyone is talking about their word for the year and all of the tools to capitalize on this fresh energy. And gratitude is one of those. This year, I intend to go full out on my podcast, my career, and in my life. You allow me into your life. However, there is this certain piece of myself that still hides a little as part of me gets afraid that if I say all the things I feel or experience, you will not stay reading this, or somebody around town will hear it, and I will feel mortified.
So, starting now, I commit to myself and to you to go full out. In that vein, what I want you to know is how I spent my New Year holiday: In my pajamas, in my bed while my husband was playing Nintendo, which I love. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. We sit around, and he plays Nintendo while I think, reflect, and daydream.
I was reading my new homeopathy book as I want to learn more about the power that is in nature to heal our minds and bodies. I recently suffered a herpes breakout, and I used homeopathy to treat it – apple cider vinegar topically, as well as Rhus Tox and Nat Mur primarily. I didn’t want to call my new OBGYN, and the more I thought about it, and I wanted to support myself and honor my body – rather than try to run from them. And so, as this whole thing evolved over the week and I thought to myself: these are the things I have to start talking about. It’s not okay to be ashamed and live in the shadows about things like this.
Shining a light on the stuff that causes us so much anxiety (and I know how much of a stigma there is around STDs because I see how panicked my clients are when they get these types of diagnoses) is how I love you well and how I love me well. As women, let’s work together and let’s shift our mindset.
How Does Gratitude Raise Your Vibration?
Let’s dig into the gratitude piece, which is all the rage in the world of healing. It’s so important because, from the vibrational place of gratitude, our life after divorce can attract all the things that we want: happiness, amazing friendships, great partners, good jobs, and amazingly well-behaved children.
Happy people attract happy, good things into their lives.
I want to share something with you: I have spent more of my life feeling unhappy rather than happy. Gratitude is something that I’ve been very intentionally leaning into over the last decade or two. However, I suffered from depression and resentment over the past few years, and I had to work hard to be grateful.
When I was going through my divorce recovery, I was working the steps with a sponsor and had a gratitude list always taped to my mirror. Although it sounds strange, I recall at the time that gratitude came fairly easily to me then. I was in such a space of feeling free that gratitude was easier even though there were so many pains.
There have been seasons since my divorce where I couldn’t harness gratitude. Being a Trauma Informed EMDR therapist, I have learned that there are times when trauma is activated, and we women can’t push our feelings aside, and we cannot mindset ourselves out of trauma.
How to Manifest Gratitude
Gratitude is not just a mindset. It’s an entire vibrational experience, and it’s a way of being. However, sometimes you’ll hear people talk about positivity.
What is Toxic Positivity?
There is a dialogue about ‘toxic positivity’ or being too optimistic. Many women have tried to feel and acknowledge their gratitude, but it doesn’t feel accessible to them. Trauma creates structural changes in the brain, which is something where Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and other modalities come in.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is not the only way to heal trauma, but it is the method I am most proficient in.
EMDR helps heal structural changes in the brain so that the brain comes back to being a more fluid-flowing system.
To protect us from divorce trauma, our brain creates these little walls—that we can see in an MRI—so we can continue to function each day. These walls continue to build with each traumatic experience, and it gets harder and harder to feel.
When your brain is triggered, and you have these walls up, your amygdala (the brain function that processes emotions) fires up, and it gets more and more difficult to put out the flames. In this situation, gratitude is water to that fire, and it will help you stabilize these emotions. To process trauma and feel gratitude, your brain must be as stable as possible.
What is Amygdala?
Amygdala is a little almond-shaped part of your limbic system and your emotional processing system.
It’s part of what we call the lizard brain, where we feel the most primal emotions.
EMDR is just one of the things that can help move the needles so that gratitude does become accessible. You can practice EMDR therapy, journaling, or try yoga to create space for an intentional connection between the body and mind.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is an ancient wisdom about nature and natural medicine.
At its core, homeopathy believes that there is a remedy for everything in the mind and body and that our mind, body, and spirit are all linked together.
In homeopathy, many physical symptoms can be linked to an emotional counterpart, which means that many treatments stabilize the emotional impacts of trauma.
- For emotional pain, I would encourage you to try Sepia for overwhelmed and angry moms,
- Nat Mur for chronic rejection and grief that is beyond tears, and
- Gelsemium for anxiety.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Do not abandon gratitude if you feel it is not working for you. We, as women, just need to have a more strategic approach and use tools such as EMDR, yoga, or homeopathy.
Start your divorce recovery gratitude journey slowly, and don’t be too specific at first.
The more general you can be with your gratitude, the easier it will be not to be triggered and not feel shut down. You can be able to get some momentum going in that good, positive-feeling space.
Another tool is “Gratitude subtraction.”
For example, if you are feeling cramped in your new living space and you’re frustrated with your current living arrangement, think to yourself: “Well, imagine if I had nowhere to live at all?”
This is a mental habit I’ve relied heavily on over the years when I felt dissatisfied with certain things in my life. At least I have running water, heat, a roof over my head, and relative safety, and I’m so grateful for all of it.
If you’re still struggling with feeling gratitude, you have most likely had some activated trauma, and you feel disconnected from your personal power.
You feel helpless, hopeless, and disempowered. I want women to shed that because I know how deeply powerful you are, and I know how much you are capable of, and I know you want to feel gratitude so badly.
Whatever it is that you’re committed to doing, just show up consistently and reconnect with your true self.
So much of the pain that we feel in our life after divorce is because of trauma, chronically feeling disempowered, and disconnecting from our true internal source of power. There are parts of you that are unaffected by this divorce and by the traumas you’ve experienced. You just need to find them.
How to Become Your True Self
To become your true self in your divorce recovery, you need to connect the wounded parts of your soul with the whole parts. When you journal consistently, do yoga, meditate, practice gratitude, sit with your friends and just cry, go to therapy, or when you do EMT, you are connecting up those wounded parts with the parts that are true and well. This process will make you feel stronger and stronger.
If you need any help with this, reach out to me, and I will point you in the right direction. But I know you’re on the right track and understand the power of gratitude practice. I love that this is the season for renewal and hope, as there are so many tools out there at this time of year around manifesting and goal-setting for women.
I’m excited to lean into this new year with you and all that is on the horizon for us. Stay tuned for all the ways you can stand in your personal power and heal those traumas.