in: Intentional Living

Practicing Gratitude for Your Ex’s Happiness (Yes, Really!)

woman looking out window with gratitude in her heart

Resentment’s kinda like a Big Mac: it stays in your gut and makes you cranky. Feeling unsettled about an ex? Try gratitude, instead. Here’s why.

Resentment is like a Big Mac.

It’s bad for you, it sorta stays in your gut for a long time, and makes you cranky. Next time you want to hold onto anger about an ex, think Big Mac: it’s bad for you.

OK, yes.. you saw them on the street with the new partner. They were giggling, hugging, and you had near-homicidal urges. Or you saw them at that party, across the room with a small circle of admirers, throwing their heads back, laughing.

They’re happy. You’re not.

Who loses here?

Take Care of Yourself First, Always

You know when the flight attendant tells you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping that old lady next to you? As it turns out, that’s great advice for life in general.

When you notice your own declining well-being and attend to it, you can then be good to others—but if you’re not breathing right or something’s stuck in your gut, you’re of no use to anyone.

Identify the Real Feeling

Back to The Happy Couple. Let’s delve deeper into those feelings you experience when you see your former love with someone new. Anger and resentment crawls up your spine, sure… but do you know why?

Peek behind the anger and here’s what you’ll find: fear, pain, or shame.

When one of those difficult emotions roils around in our body, we mask it with anger. When you see a past lover happy without you, what you’re really feeling is:I wasn’t good enough. It’s shame, really—that feeling of failure as a human, as a partner. It’s some yucky stuff to shake off.

Do you really want your ex to be miserable?

Breathe for a moment.

How about, instead, you recognize your deep hurt for what it is—pain (it hurts!), fear (will anyone ever love me again?), or shame (I’m not good enough). The simple act of acknowledging those emotions diminishes the power they have over you, distancing you from your trauma little by little.

Wish your former love well on the journey (that’s called creating good karma). Think about the choice before you: anger or gratitude? Hmmm… Whopper or a green smoothie?

Have you ever dealt with an unhappy ex? Have you experienced the opposite, in which your ex shoots you energetic daggers at every opportunity? If you’ve been on the receiving end of curses, consider what the experience would have been like had your ex granted you blessings, instead. How incredible would that feel? Why not create that goodness?

Why aim for such a counter-intuitive generosity? Because it’s good for you.

Gratitude is Better for You

Research shows that the number one factor that enhances happiness is gratitudeso, wish them well. Love them still—if you want—and let them have whatever goodness awaits. You will feel better (I promise).

An attitude of gratitude about all things—especially the tough stuff—will help make you happy. Besides, do you really want that Big Mac in your belly when you meet your next potential partner? Sweep out the gunk and remember this: it’s not that you weren’t good enough, it just wasn’t meant to be.

The good news? Gratitude sets you up well to receive love and happiness anew.

About the Author:


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