I was in the midst of a painful conversation, the kind that triggers alllll of your shit–the deep down stuff, the worthiness stuff, the stuff that most people want to pretend isn’t there at all.
I was crying the kind of big, deep down tears that shake your gut. My mind was scanning, trying to come up with anything–anything–that might be a salve for the wound.
Then–well, I’ll just be honest–I invoked something I’d heard on Oprah. Maya Angelou had told Oprah that in the middle of everything falling apart, she would start saying “Thank you.”
Having no other tool at my disposal in that moment, I tried it. I said “Thank you.”
It stopped me for a second. There was a slight pause. Then the crying resumed, so I said, “Thank you,” again. Then a few more times.
Quite as suddenly as it had started, I didn’t feel like crying, anymore.
Here’s What I Know About Thank You
When you say “Thank you” in the midst of something like that, you’re speaking from a place of trust. This is deeply courageous trust.
What can shift in those seconds when you are in it, and deep, and you start saying “Thank you” is that you are paving a way to say that all is not lost–that there is something divine about this experience–there is something to be gained.
What I knew, in that moment when the crying gave way to suddenly feeling a release of that pain, was that I was going to be okay. I didn’t like what I was feeling–it wasn’t comfortable, certainly!–but I was going to be okay.
Even better, there was something “there” for me–something that I was going to be taught about myself by going through this experience.
DO Try This At Home
Consider what seems unbearable to be with, to sit with in your life. Spend some time really thinking about it.
Then play with it a bit. Just at the point when you’re good n’ worked up, try it: “Thank you.”
Perhaps at first, you’ll just feel a little silly. Go ahead and get nice and pissed again, or sad, or whatever it is that feels hard.
Then try it again: “Thank you.”
Can you feel it?
There is something about saying “Thank you” to that muck that shines a bright light on it, and makes it seem far less unbearable.
The shift happens because you’re stepping into something powerful.
You’re not playing the victim, weak, defenseless, without options.
Saying “Thank you” is a bold move in the midst of feeling completely stuck.
Never hesitate to make the bold move.