I’m not someone who believes that everything happens for a reason or that we need to be grateful for everything. Horrible, tragic, unthinkable things happen to people and children around the world everyday and I don’t believe these things happen for the reasons of teaching us a lesson and making us stronger, better people.
We feel comforted knowing why things happen. We search for something good from a tragic event to help us make it to the other side of trauma and heal so we can keep moving forward with our lives. But, sometimes searching for the reason why something happened can be an endless pursuit; sometimes, there is not why, except someone did an evil thing.
The questions we should be asking ourselves in order to heal is how? How can we move on from this horrible thing that happened to us in the past and be not only okay but also happy and full in this present moment.
I was raped when I was 14. I kept it hidden from other for seven years, suppressed it mentally for much of that time, and suffered from depression. After it all came to the light in my life and I told the people closest to me, I tried to find a reason why I was raped. I don’t believe this happened so I can be a stronger person. I don’t believe a force out there (maybe you call it God) allows bad things to happen in order to make us stronger or closer to him/her. The only why I could come up with was that the guy was on serious prescription drugs that made him not in his right mind; that still doesn’t explain why, and explanations don’t excuse actions. So, searching for a why really did no help for me in healing and moving on from my sexual trauma.
Instead of focusing on why this happened to me, what this guy ‘took’ from me, what I had lost – my virginity, which is pressed on women to be the most precious thing to hold onto – I focused on what I did have. That got me out of my past and took me away from a ‘oh, poor me’ victim mentality, throwing me into empowerment and allowing me to then focus on myself in the present and ask myself what I needed in order to heal and move forward.
The practice of gratitude was a tool I used when I was digging myself out of the ditch of my depression. It was a long, hard climb out and took me many years to finally feel healed, and it all started with gratitude – I had to be grateful for my life to even start my ascent. Sometimes I need to remind myself that life never promises to be fair, that life never promises us anything, which is why gratitude is so essential to a full life.
Gratitude is a simple, powerful, and beautiful tool that’s always accessible to you; you can practice gratitude anytime of any day to shift your focus in a new, fuller, positive direction. You remind yourself of everything you already have, everything you were given, everything you made or worked for, and everyone you have or have had in your life, all which is not promised to you and has the potential to shift at any moment. Practicing gratitude is like learning any new skill – it takes little time, positive energy, and dedication, and over time it will become in your nature to practice it.
Not everything has to go in the gratitude box though. I don’t believe I was rapped for a reason and I’m done searching for a why. I’m definitely not grateful that it happened. I’m a stronger person from it because of me, not because this person did something horrible to me. So, I’m grateful for myself, for fighting for my voice and power back. I’m extremely grateful to the people who were there for me then and are here for me now. I’m grateful if sharing my story can help someone who has been through something horrible heal, especially more quickly than I did.
I’m grateful that I feel what happened to me is not longer my story; my story is what I did with what happened to me.
I love to practice gratitude when I practice yoga. I take the time at the end of my practice and I actually start with what I’m grateful for about myself, and then I move outward with my gratitude to other people and things. I leave the practice feeling so full of love, appreciation, and joy – it’s part of my yoga glow, the yoga high. If you don’t practice yoga, anytime is a great time for gratitude – in the morning, before bed, when you feel you don’t have enough or you aren’t enough, when you’re feeling jealous or that life is unfair, or when you feel stuck or discouraged.
It’s important to remember to practice gratitude in the good times, too, because everything is constantly changing. If you don’t appreciate what you have when you have it, then you’ll never have enough. Practice gratitude when you feel full of life, when you are in love, when you are in a healthy relationship, when you are happy and healthy, when you achieve your goals.
Build and work out your gratitude muscle and experience the fullness and joy of your life.
I’m definitely grateful to you, you wonderful, beautiful, and spiritual being, for reading this and connecting with me.
Sending you love and support on your journey,