‘In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you’ Andrea Dykstrd.

Whether it’s the breakdown of a relationship, severe financial strain or a career that’s heading south, heartbreak can stop you in your tracks in an instant. It also has a funny way of steering your life down a path you never wanted to take. Although this is never easy, experiencing turmoil can be a blessing in disguise.

It’s easier said than done to use a heart-breaking situation to make positive changes in your life – especially when the emotion is still raw, but with the right perspective it really can be an opportunity to change something about yourself or your life that isn’t doing you any good.

Whilst different people may choose to deal with their pain in different ways, there is one method that can bring transformation to any difficult situation: gratitude. Now granted, when heartbreak hits the last thing you may feel like doing is expressing thanks for it, but doing so could be the difference between freeing yourself from pain or carrying that pain with you for the rest of your life.

When we find ourselves locked in the midst of an undesirable situation our ego immediately seeks out a way to deal with our heartbreak in the only way it knows how: by reinforcing the pain so that we avoid future experiences that may hurt us. Sadness, depression and bitterness are just some of the ego’s natural reactions to heartbreak but allowing these emotions to flourish only adds to the pain we are already feeling. Soon enough, we’re causing more hurt to ourselves than anyone else ever did.

If we’re going to take some value from a difficult situation we have to go against the grain and see the benefits the pain can bring. By expressing gratitude for the lessons the heartbreak is teaching us, we dissolve the need to feel like a victim and bring a sense of hope to the situation. It’s this change in perspective that can make you realise that there is just as much to gain from the difficulty than there is to lose.

So how exactly do we use gratitude to turn our heartbreak into happiness? Start by expressing thanks for absolutely anything you can about the situation, nothing is too small to be thankful for. Maybe you managed a good night’s sleep despite being in pain, maybe a friend offered a comforting shoulder to cry on or maybe you can finally pursue a different career despite the uncertainty that lies ahead. If these are too difficult to start with, take your focus off what’s disturbing you and be thankful for something as simple as your breath. You could even try writing a list of everything you’re grateful for – the practice of writing cements your gratitude more firmly in your thoughts.

The wonderful irony about gratitude is that it’s only when we accept the difficulties we face that the perfect solution to them shows up. So the next time you find yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in, defy your natural instincts and express thanks for it – doing so could bring about the peace you’re looking for.

photo credit: alanwordguy <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23452345@N02/4363769700″>Broken</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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