There is one judge who always asks disputing couples in court to look at each other and think back over the years to when they decided to marry.
“You had a life together,” the judge says. “There must be some goodness there. And no matter how hard it is, look at that goodness. Remember it. Realize it wasn’t all bad.”
November is often considered a month to focus on gratitude, and I believe gratitude and patience are important assets in divorce. First, you can’t be angry and appreciative at the same time. One must outweigh the other.
Yes, divorce can be a time of grief, loss and disappointment. Things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. But like that judge said, it probably wasn’t all bad, and if you can reflect on the more precious moments of your time together, perhaps you can feel less like a failure, and less hurt by the dissolution of the relationship.
Feelings of gratitude help move us through in constructive ways, whereas feelings of anger and hurt only lead us to be vindictive and want to strike back at the one who caused us pain.
When you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to have gratitude for the experiences that you have. For the good times and loving moments, yes, and for the way the relationship brought you to this point. Appreciate all that you have learned from being married to this person. If you have children, have gratitude for their presence.
And as you go through the divorce, have gratitude for the team that supports you, whether that’s your parents, your best friend, your lawyer, whoever holds your hand through the process. Gratitude is a choice – we can let the sadness and heaviness bring us down or choose to find the silver lining, no matter how hard it is to spot.
Even if you had some missteps along the way, lashed out at those who were there for you or spent much of the time feeling sorry for yourself, it’s never too late to reach out to say thank you. In divorce lawsuits, and frankly in life, things can’t always go your way. But just because you didn’t the exact outcome you had hoped for, it doesn’t mean your professional team wasn’t properly supportive.
Consider all the benefits you’re getting from the steps that you took. One of my clients commented once that something I said was so important, she expressed so much gratitude to me, and it made me feel not only appreciated but recognized for my hard work and dedication. Her case was difficult, and even she was difficult at times, but I knew why. Her expression of gratitude was so heartfelt and it meant so much to me.
This month – and always!! – find ways to be grateful. There is always something good lurking in the corners of your life. Make sure you notice it and let anyone who made it happen know how much you appreciate their attention to the details of your life.