What if I don’t feel very thankful this Thanksgiving season?

It’s hard to face a period of celebration when you’re feeling more like you’re in mourning than anything else. It’s hard to feel the pressure to be grateful, thankful, blessed, when really what you feel is that your life is falling apart and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s hard to worry about being alone or having to give up treasured traditions when you want nothing more than to return to something that feels normal and comfortable.

There’s no question that going through the motions when you’re going through a divorce is difficult, and fraught with uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions. Guilt probably ranks first among them. You’re supposed to be grateful. You’re supposed to be mature. You’re supposed to put your children’s needs above your own. You’re supposed to…fill in the blank. Whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing, you’re not quite doing it well enough.

This holiday season, as you go through your divorce, you should feel free to let go of the feelings of guilt. Don’t beat yourself up for not feeling as grateful, as happy, as you would have done in other years. In fact, it can be a little liberating to allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you’re actually feeling. What, just because it’s the fourth Thursday in November you’re supposed to suddenly feel grateful? That seems arbitrary at best!

There is, though, one holiday tradition that I think divorced and divorcing women should uphold with all the rest, and that is the New Year’s Resolution. Whatever has left you feeling less than wonderful this holiday season, come up with some reason to make it better—as soon as possible. Is there something else you’d like to try? A new job, career, degree, or hobby? Do you want to lose weight? Run a marathon? Go back to school? Write your first novel? Open your own business? Start dating again? Whatever it is, you should take some time now (who says you have to wait until January 1st?) to figure out what it is that would make you feel a little happier in the long run.

The point is, you can make a little time to be grateful for your blessings any time. But if you’re not happy with your life and the direction it has taken recently, it’s never too soon to start thinking about the changes you want to make to improve things in the future. Buckle down with your resolutions now, and make some time to feel grateful for the changes in your life later.

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