When Life Gives You Lemons

March 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you can appreciate when they go right. You believe less so that you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

        –Marilyn Monroe, icon, fabulous, sexy.(taken from the Daily Love email)

Marilyn is my homegirl ‘cause she got it right—everything happens for a reason.  People change. Relationships end with the wrong partner so you can bump into your true love. You get fired but you never liked that job anyway, so it forces you to explore your passions. Someone called you fat when you were younger, but it led you to want to help other people with their weight and body image (OK, that’s me).

I’ve been writing a daily gratitude list to a group of women for five years. Every day. I don’t think I’ve ever stuck to anything that long, but expressing gratitude is so fulfilling in just so many ways.  The recipients of my daily list are the “divas,” as we affectionately call each other, brought together by the wonderful, incredible Jennifer Macaluso Gilmore and her inspirational classes for women called Something Different for Women.

Jennifer brought up a VERY good point in our last meeting: that when expressing gratitude, if you’ve done it for awhile (like I have), you can easily fall into a rut. It’s easy to be thankful for things like a sunny day, your family, your dog, and a new dress. And that’s fine and dandy.

However, it’s a completely different practice to be grateful for the BAD things that have happened to you. Most of the time we take those events and shove them into the recesses of our mind, hoping to never think about them again.  But, to dust of those experiences, to truly examine them from all angles and to be grateful for the lessons they taught you is WAY more powerful.

So, that’s what I’m doing with my diva partner, Ilana of Downtown Dharma (awesome blog, awesome woman, read it!). Each day, for 30 days (we’re on day 4), we share something painful that happened to us, how it made us feel, and what we learned from it (we call this EXTREME gratitude).

For example, I shared with her that in 6th grade, a very mean girl ripped out fat camp advertisements and taped them to my locker (btw, I had never told anyone that before yesterday when I wrote to Ilana). Of course, it made me feel AWFUL because I didn’t think of myself as fat! I believe that was when I started very many years of hating and abusing my body in many ways…and obviously I still think about it to this day.  

But more important than the shame and grief is the GRATITUDE I feel for that event happening to me. I remembered that I had VERY good friends support me. I learned that I never wanted to be someone who was mean to another girl. And on an indirect path, it led me right here: making peace and establishing a loving relationship with my body, and inspiring others to do the same thing.

So remember: When life gives you lemons, be GRATEFUL!

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