Using grief for good


Have you heard the concept that the act of smiling releases “happy hormones” that can actually alter the way someone feels? Researchers suggest that when feeling down, that one force oneself to smile because the act of smiling has been proven to improve mood. Interesting.

Along a similar vein, I’ve also heard that the best path to happiness is to feel gratitude. To be honestly and completely thankful and grateful for those things that one has. Now, admittedly that can be hard to do in the face of a trauma like the discovery of a spouse’s unfaithfulness. It’s easy for ones self-talk to focus entirely on the unfairness, the horror, the utter victimization. After all, how can you NOT think of those things?

I would challenge you, however, to think today about 10 things you are grateful for. Off the top of my head, here are mine as I sit in an airport waiting at the gate for my flight home.

I am grateful that…

1. My children are healthy
2. I live in the free word
3. I was able to afford breakfast this morning and eat while so many cannot.
4. I am flying home today
5. I have a family waiting for me when I get there
6. I have a husband who honors my
healing journey and who has graciously “allowed” me to leave home for 4 days to coach betrayed women on their
journeys, being a full time parent alone.
7. I have a wicked sense of humor
8 I’ve been blessed with the ability to “feel” whether good or bad.
9. I’ve been blessed with a compassionate heart for others.
10. I’m alive.

The mere act of being grateful and taking the time to actively think of the things for which we are grateful has the same function as smiling when we are sad. It causes a shift.

Take some time to be grateful, to find a reason to smile, even when it seems dark. There is ALWAYS

    something

to smile about.

On Friday afternoon, I watched 30 women walk cautiously into a room. They all had in common the pain of infidelity. For most of them, their eyes remained downward, their demeanor apprehensive. They had all arrived for the “take your life back” weekend. As coaches to them, we had prepared a weekend for them that they were likely all scared to experience but perhaps a little excited too. The physical transformation of these beautiful souls was inspiring. Women whose faces were lowered Friday were glowing on Sunday. Those broken down and beaten were inspired and hopeful, with a renewed purpose upon returning home. It was beautiful to witness, and some of those women are readers of this very blog.
It was an honor to meet you, hear your stories and to be given a window into your journey so that I may help you walk it.

I am hopeful that every one of those women return home today with a reason to smile, each with a new battle cry and a renewed sense of self. I am so proud of each and every one of them for showing such bravery and honesty this weekend.

There is such beauty in turning ones grief for good…, so I guess that’s 11 things I am grateful for today – the opportunity to be able to use my story to heal others. May each of you on this journey seek out the same opportunity when you are ready, whether as a coach or a confidante…your compassion and understanding are now a gift you can give others to give them a reason to smile and then pass it on.

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Comments

  1. uneffingbelievable says:

    I have just discovered your blog and started at the beginning. Let me say that I am so sorry this mess was brought into your life. You have handled it with aplomb and such a great sense of humor.
    I do have a question, though. Why do you blame the mistress more than your husband? She got pregnant because he chose to have unprotected sex with her. Don’t get me wrong – she is a complete skank, sounds mentally disturbed, and is an all around bitch, from what I’ve read. Is it because she was so vicious right out of the gate that you had someone other than your husband to turn your anger on? My husband’s whore did a vanishing act, so that might be why I put 99% of the blame on him.
    I don’t mean to open old wounds, but I was curious as to why you see him as a victim of her, instead of the perpetrator of his infidelity towards you.
    Thank you!

  2. Hello Anne. My name is Amy. I’m a journalist at Good Housekeeping magazine and we’re interested in sharing your inspiring story with our readers. Please contact me asap on amy.hopkins@goodhousekeeping.co.uk Thank you

  3. Healing slowly and much afraid says:

    I have found your blog very helpful .. I am approaching the one year anniversary and I can’t but to feel so overwhelmed with so many unfinished business questions and emotions I can’t really make up or shake. I am 30 years old and I have been w my fiancé for 7 years last Dec. after our relationship was crumbling and falling apart my mother was diagnosed with cancer for 2nd time stage 2 w metastasis in 3 major organs I was about to enter the most horrible time of my life ..we had just gotten back from a cruise hoping we would rekindle our intimacy and so broken relationship I guess it didn’t work we have those type of relationship that you feel or believe there are such things as soul mates best friends do everything together have 3 dogs love to travel a level of compatibility I had never imagined to find. We had been struggling as I said and I flew home to be with my mother who lives in another country. I stayed for 5 days. When I came back I sensed a change indifference he had been growing apart cold and I was devastated with my mother s prognosis. 5 days later he breaks up with me and I was in such shock and financial turmoil I asked to give me time to move out. During this time I reflected on my life I was in the verge of loosing the most important people in my world my dreams my home my family separate my dogs I was terrified something switched I have been so depressed and miserable I had experience life’s crazy spins and downs without support from him or any family (being them in a different country) I decided to change and do what I could ONE DAY at the TIME .. He started to notice at the same time I started digging something was telling something was off he was obsessed with STDs I am the brains of the relationship and not that matters I am considered by other men to be extremely beautiful I never had confidence issues of self worth doubts I thought we would be ok that he needed some time apart from the pressure and I thought to myself I can use it to find the happy me i left behind. I dogged and found he had an affair in my house in my bed even picked furniture for place with this scum rag a 19 year old wh*% who had gonorrhea 3 months before who had slept with every single man at his work .. Nonetheless to say I was devastated I felt violated abused how he could do that while I was visiting my mother he watched movies in my bed walked my dogs screwed her in my bedroom stayed over I had put a bug on his phone and was able to view it all!! The texts the Picts the conversations I started planning crazy things I wanted to catch them. He had no idea I knew but didn’t last long after he had broken up with me 5 days after probably because he couldn’t look at me in the face I brought gifts I needed him so much he betrayed me he used to talk low about those guys he felt disgusted by man like that I couldn’t believe it sometimes even after almost a year I still can’t believe it. When I confronted him he denied it but not after long when I recited texts comments he knew I knew. Silence. No apologies. I didn’t cry because I had already cried every night in silent while I moved to the guest room and read their texts back and forth. Desolation. Sooner after I lost my job too. It was insane!! Everything I had worked so hard was gone in less than a month.
    You can see how much pain I have still I made him confess all details a few weeks ago I found out that the lie about never screwing her on my bed he told me he always did it on the sofa in the LR but how naive of me because he couldn’t stand the fact I hate the new furniture he bought with her to decorate my home! I wonder how many other lies are there? He quickly felt remorse that night when I confronted him before I went to bed I said you know you don’t even have the heart to tell me you are sorry? Like I don’t matter .. He broke down in tears like a little baby and said he was sorry that it was the biggest most regretful thing he will have to live with. During those weeks before I found out I found that light and he would say things like where is this girl I felt in love with? I would reply I have never left .. He never got an STD he stopped talking to her well until I found out she contacted him through Ruzzle you know that word game .. Well on Valentines I don’t know if it was self preservation but we had crazy mind blowing sex I hadn’t committed to forgive him but I had given him my body I never left I never told him about my job I bounce back I showed him the face that wouldn’t be down and that life continued .. After valentines is when I found out about the ruzzle msg that day I wanted to shoot him dead .. Deceived!
    He was worry this girl would talk about the drugs they did while I was gone yes drugs she confessed to him he was the 1st guy she slept without being intoxicated on something she had totaled her car a few months ago and I’m still hoping she does it again this time fatally I played some stupids jokes harassed via text using the free websites even tho she knew it was me I wanted to keep my track clear.
    Today I finally let go of the phone bug I’m trying to trust him I have questions but he doesn’t want to talk about it he says he is deeply ashamed and the worst that could happen happened and that there is nothing else to talk about. I got back with him in leu of going to therapy that has never happened sometimes I feel him so distant our intimacy problems haven’t gotten better he have sex maybe maybe once a month he tells me how appreciative he is of me giving us a chance .. In the beginning he was trying and maybe the way I am pushed him away I’m very difficult but I have never gave up on him he has multiple times I feel he still unsure .. The slut is gone and thank god he doesn’t work there she got fired before he left but for a while imagine how difficult it was to trust someone you don’t she went on a rampage and finish screwing all the men left in her workplace she actually really liked him I could tell by her texts she still lives w her parents for god sake! I want to let go but I find myself doubting our future as he has too.. My mom made a full recovery 60 chemos later she is cancer free my life turned around I started a new professional life and we talk about starting ours him and I too the marriage obviously is postponed I feel happy we made a lot changes but so sad so lonely at times when he seems to not care for my needs. He said no more phone passwords emails he said you can check my phone but then when I ask he gets irritated remarks “at one you have to let it go” or “how long does it need to pass for you to drop that” today I was checking the phone rcds from when this happened I don’t know why I feel there is an untold story. He said it was only sex and he was too high most of the time so the only had intercourse 2x. I know he loves me and I also know he is tired of our bickering years in the making I am too but I feel I am doing something. I asked him for his affection told him I need to feel desired I saw texts him asking for naked pict talking dirty he has soooo many inhibitions with me. We have the sex life of a 1800s couple done in the dark same way .. I am so young and yet I feel so old I never cheated on him but I wonder if my needs will EVER be met can I ever let go? I feel psycho on the thoughts of the young whore I feel drained .. I am starting to feel he gave up .. We are just too in love to let go or scare .. I know we need counseling sorry for the long dragging mail I can’t talk to this w anyone my best friend but you feel like you sound repetitive my mother doesn’t know my dad was a bastard with her cheated on her so many times and I was the one who would see it so very emotional residual issues please help me .. Please someone out there.

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