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
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.