How can someone be thankful, even during a divorce? What a great question. My answer is influenced by the fact that I have a strong faith. Many times, clients come to me because they too have faith and are looking for guidance in a situation that they never thought they’d be in. Fundamentally, I don’t believe in divorce. However, I also believe that sometimes there are situations where it is better for people not to remain married. I try to help guide and hopefully ease the transition for people going through a traumatic time in their life. Some clients ask me to pray with them, which I am honored to do. Other clients require more encouragement, so I will ask them to remember the things that are good about their spouse as opposed to the things that are bad. Unfortunately, in most contested divorce cases, people are trying to dig up dirt and throw mud at every opportunity. If that approach is not necessary, I tell my client that avoiding mudslinging will be better for their future peace of mind and emotional well-being.
One of the things that I do on a regular basis is make a gratitude list. What it does for me is to help me focus on the things that are blessings as opposed to the things that are wrong. To think about the little things that I may not normally notice as I go about my day. Things like the beauty of nature, the support of family and friends or the blessing of having wonderful pets to come home to, even if those pets have decided to leave me a little treasure on the living room rug. (LOL)
How Do Clients Respond to These Kinds of Suggestions?
Most of the time, clients are very receptive to trying to take the high road. Sometimes, either from physical, mental or emotional trauma or other serious things happening in their marriage, they are not open to even thinking about their divorce in those ways. I do my best to help my client no matter their situation. Surprisingly, years later, I have clients who will reach out to me and say, “Paula, you were right in trying to help me look at the bright side or help me to try to get along with my spouse at that time and I wish I had listened to you.” That sort of contact from former clients is very gratifying because I truly want to help people.
Thanksgiving is a time to stop and give thanks for all the blessings that we have received. Sometimes those blessings may seem like they are anything but blessings. People that are healthy after they emerge from the pain and trauma of a divorce are those who know that their post-divorce life will have new opportunities and experiences. And that often pain is the precursor to growth. So, give thanks during Thanksgiving this year. There is always much to be thankful for!