Why I’m Grateful for Even the Tough Stuff

by gigigriffis

Photo Credit.

This past September, I had my heart broken.

I’d hit it off with a man I met in Switzerland. A traveler, like me. An adventurer. Someone who saw the world like I did.

He pursued me and wooed me, whispering French in my ear anytime I was talking to another man, making bids for my attention, saying all the right things along the way. And, after some hesitation on my part, we started seeing each other.

A week or two passed. He told me he was in love with me, half-joking. We laughed a lot. He asked me not to hurt him.

Then we went to a party together one night and it was too loud and rowdy for me. I stayed for a while, but then told him I wasn’t having fun and was going to go. He said he wanted to stay and hang with his friends. He said he’d message me in the morning and we’d spend some quality time together. I said goodnight and kissed him on the cheek.

That night he cheated on me.

In front of my friends.

Just moments after I left the bar.

If this happened two years ago, I would have spent a week (okay, a month) in bed. I would have blamed myself. I would have asked what was so wrong with me that men couldn’t stand to be faithful, or even simply respectful. I would have rolled around in my misery.

But these days I’m a different person.

Was I still hurt? Yes. Did I still curl up into a ball on the hard dirt at the campground and have a tear-filled meltdown? Yes. Did those old questions about my value as a human being rear their ugly heads? Yes.

But.

BUT.

Did I internalize those things, dissolving into a pile of my insecurities? Not this time.

Instead, I packed up my things and I took myself for a ride on the Glacier Express, something I’d been wanting to do all month, but hadn’t yet gotten around to. I reached out to my girl friends and sincerely asked for help, love, and a sounding board. When people told me they loved me, I listened. And when my heart asked whether or not I was lovable, with yet another failure under my belt, I gave it a firm, loving yes.

And while I was doing all this, I made mental lists of everything I was grateful for. That I had amazing friends who were there for me. That I was loved. By many. That I was capable of being hurt because I have an open heart and, as the monk who wrote Radical Hospitality says, “an open heart will be broken; this is undeniable.” That I was capable of extending grace to him while at the same time standing up for myself.

But most of all, that I am I capable of extending love to myself, that I am stronger than I’ve ever been, that I’ve come so far.

That’s the thing about the low points in our lives. Sometimes we don’t know just how far we’ve come, how much stronger or more loving or braver we are, until we hit a snag.

As C.S. Lewis says,

“Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

So, I am grateful. Even for the really difficult parts of the last six months.

Because the sudden punch in the gut, the smack down, the low points…they show me who I am.

They show me that I am more capable of love today than I was yesterday. That I’m stronger. That I know myself better. That I’m closer to the person I desperately want to be.

A person who loves fiercely. Loves herself. Loves her friends. Loves even her enemies.

A person who walks the line between self-respect and empathy.

A person who does justly and loves mercy. Who lives well and extends grace to those around her. Who practices empathy even when it feels impossible.

This is why I’m grateful for even my broken heart. I’m grateful for even my struggles with depression this January. I’m grateful for even my hate mail.

Because when I’m suddenly hurt, what I see in myself isn’t an ill temper, low self-esteem, or a free-fall into depression.

It’s the ability to fight tooth and nail for my joy…and win that battle.

It’s gratitude.

And most of all it’s love.

Difficult, beautiful, necessary love.

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20 comments

Lori February 17, 2014 - 10:24 am

I couldn’t love this post more and how very timely for me! You continue to hit the nail on the head with these introspective posts on growth and acceptance. Spot on sister!

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gigigriffis February 17, 2014 - 11:28 am

Thank you.

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Cyn February 17, 2014 - 10:47 am

Nicely felt, nicely written. Big love to you!

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gigigriffis February 17, 2014 - 11:31 am

Thanks!

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Lisa February 17, 2014 - 11:13 am

I love how honest you write. Your ups and downs, your raw emotions and even your struggle with depression. It’s beautiful and moving to read.

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gigigriffis February 17, 2014 - 11:31 am

Thank you. I’m so glad it’s resonating with people.

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Rebecca February 17, 2014 - 2:08 pm

I say good riddance to him and I am glad that you still managed to forgive him and heck to quote a cliche “There are other fish in the sea”. Seriously you deserve someone better who most importantly wont cheat on you,or treat you terribly. You know what you are looking for and with your travels you will probably find that person who can be your best friend and treat your heart with great respect and love.

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gigigriffis February 17, 2014 - 2:15 pm

Agreed. :)

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Maria February 17, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Well he just sucks.

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gigigriffis February 17, 2014 - 2:37 pm

Haha, true. But better to find out two weeks in than two years, right? :)

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Kathryn February 17, 2014 - 2:33 pm

What a profoundly honest post Gigi and I acknowledge your hurt, your bravery and especially your courage.

You’ve got loyal friends all over the world (even some which you’ve never personally met yet, like me), who’ve got your back and will support you no matter what.

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gigigriffis February 17, 2014 - 2:38 pm

Thank you. I appreciate that more than you know.

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Maria February 17, 2014 - 5:32 pm

Inspirational! Keep strong! Sending you good vibes! xxx

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gigigriffis February 18, 2014 - 2:34 am

Thanks!

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Kira February 17, 2014 - 7:21 pm

I think weathering downs like this while keeping one’s business chugging deserves extra praise! It’s hard to keep chugging apres-bad-news regardless of your profession…but I think it takes extra sass and spunk to do so while maintaining your own self-started gig(s). So, one more point for you. Excellent post…I read this 5 minutes after receiving some kick-my-feet-out-from-under-me news myself. So thank you.

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gigigriffis February 18, 2014 - 2:35 am

Why, thank you! I was actually lucky in that September was my month off, so I had a good week of off-time before I had to step back into the business ring during all this.

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Ali February 18, 2014 - 10:32 pm

I had no idea! I’m so sorry this happened to you in September, but I’m happy for you that you didn’t let it get you down, and that you had plenty of friends around to help you out, and that in a way it reminded you what a loving person you are. I don’t understand why some guys are that way, but as you said, it’s not a reflection on you.

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gigigriffis February 19, 2014 - 2:41 am

It’s okay.

I’m surprised I didn’t tell you. You were on a short list of people to possibly visit to take my mind off things (I ended up doing the Glacier Express instead, but visiting you or my friend Danielle were also both very comforting thoughts).

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