As an Enneagram 7, this actually pains me to say, but life isn’t always perfect. There – I said it. As much as I want to paint a picture of unicorns and rainbows for you and tell you that everything is going to be okay – I won’t do that. Leave out the unicorns and rainbows, and let’s take a moment to talk about when times get tough. I will stick with the final part, however, and tell you that no matter what you are going through right now, everything is going to be okay. Trust me on that one.
You ever just want an “easy” life? Where you find yourself in a never-ending struggle, just wishing to finally catch your break, for something to happen – anything! – that will make your life easier? I think we can all agree that we have been here. It’s human nature to want things to be easy. We feel like the “best version of ourselves” when things are easy – where we can feel happy and thankful for things in life.
Let’s stop wishing for an easy life. Nothing ever grows there. Sure, you could just keep doing exactly what you already know you can do. It’s easy to be a good person and feel super thankful when times are good – when you have more than what you could ever want and things are going your way. And it’s necessary to be thankful during these times – but take a second to think about the last time things weren’t easy. It’s during these times – the struggles – that you truly define yourself and find what you are truly thankful for.
Some of the most defining moments in my life happened when I felt I was at rock-bottom – when things weren’t easy. And honestly, when I wasn’t feeling very thankful in the moment.
I wasn’t thankful earlier in the year, when I left my “dream job” on terrible terms and my long-term plan was flipped upside down, leaving me jobless and worried I wasn’t going to be able to pursue another outlet that gave me fulfillment due to legalities and bullies.
I wasn’t thankful years ago, when I was fighting my soon-to-be ex-husband throughout the divorce process, and the life I had initially envisioned was being broken down to who gets what couch. I was embarrassed and angry at myself for marrying someone I didn’t really know. I was mad I had depended on him so much and was stressed I wasn’t going to be able to take care of myself.
Something new to share with some of you – and every time I share about this, I still feel knots in my stomach – but in 2010, my fiance was killed in Afghanistan. This is something that I will surely expand on when the time is right, but I can tell you I certainly wasn’t thankful to endure losing someone that way or the long grief process that followed.
These moments were filled with stress and worry. Depression and sadness. How could I be thankful? Let me say this – it’s extremely necessary to take time to grieve, whether you are grieving a lost relationship, the death of a loved one, a failed situation, or anything else. We can’t bottle things up and pretend they didn’t happen. We have to allow ourselves to heal.
But here’s my favorite part about the healing process – we always heal into a stronger version of ourselves. We do. And as we heal, this is where we define ourselves. This is where we figure out who we truly are.
In the moment, would I have wished these things on myself? No. Did I ever predict I would be able to handle these struggles? Again, no. But did these tough situations forever change me into a stronger version of myself? Hell yes – and for that, I am thankful.
These struggles – when you’re down and out and you can’t see the end of the road, and you just don’t know how anything is going to pan out, how you’ll make it through – these are tests. Tests that are preparing you for something bigger than you can see. Perhaps they’re preparing you with the strength you’ll provide someone you’ll cross in the future who will go through the same battle as you did. Maybe these tests are forcing you out of complacency because you’ve been designed to change the way things are, not just fall in line. Perhaps these trials are preparing you for your great purpose. What a gift that is.
I never thought I could be so fulfilled in life, nonetheless sharing my journey towards fulfillment and helping guide others to it – had I stayed on the easy path, I wouldn’t have had the platform to empower people to discover their dreams and not stop until they get them.
I never saw people reaching out, saying that my words have helped them through a divorce – where they know it’s not too taboo to talk about, and they know they’re not alone and that they do deserve happiness. Had I taken the easy route, I wouldn’t have been able to talk people through the scary parts of their journey to staying true to themselves.
I never ever saw myself feeling like a widow at the age of 23. That was the hardest part of my entire life, and I still wish it had never happened – but through healing, it has strengthened me to become a leader and be firm in my purpose to help others, where I know I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.
From the darkest bad in life can come the purest good – and for that, I am thankful.
Let’s be thankful for where we are.
Let’s be thankful for what brought us here.
Let’s be thankful for what we have been chosen to do.