• Ally Wettengel

Broken to Brave: My Top 5 Steps To Turn Grief Into Gratitude

Recently I was in a pretty scary accident. I was in the back of an ATV Mule when it flipped. I launched into the air & landed with my head/neck/shoulder wrapped around the roll bar. The first thing I remember is someone saying:

Ally don’t move. Where do you feel the impact...your head, your neck? Can you still wiggle your fingers & toes? Let’s get a group to help her up!

After being medically reviewed I learned that luckily all I suffered from was a broken clavicle. It could have been so much worse! To my surprise the doctor said that with the right rest, recovery, & rehab it may heal even stronger than before.



So that got me thinking...what other times in my life have I been so broken but ended up healing stronger than I ever expected? And what perfect timing as we move into Thanksgiving week.

This holiday I’m shifting my focus towards gratitude for the grief...those moments that almost broke me but instead rebuilt me even braver & stronger.

Want to join me with this Thanksgiving for a broken to brave appreciation? See My Top 5 Steps to Turn Your Grief Into Gratitude below.


Step 1: Acknowledge The Impact

Unlike my ATV accident where people witnessed the impact and were by my side trying to identify the areas of pain...our life pain points aren’t always as transparent. I remember being stuck in an extremely toxic abusive relationship but I would show up to the outside world as my happy bubbly self everyday. Can I tell you how exhausting that was? All the stress would come out as night terrors in my sleep. Instead of holding it all in & acting like everything is fine can you feel the feels? Maybe allow yourself to be vulnerable with your pain in front of some close friends or family members. Most importantly can you give yourself permission to acknowledge that sometimes you’re not ok & identity those areas (heart/head) that need rest, recovery, rehab.


Step 2: Cut The Excess Weight

My goodness, if it wasn’t already hard enough to get over a (love/friend/job) breakup back in the day, now we have social media to relentlessly remind us of that pain. We are sent memory reminders, we read into a deeper meaning behind the likes or tweets, & we have full stalking abilities. My word to the wise - CUT THAT EXCESS FAT! Create boundaries for yourself by unfollowing people that bring you down, block your heart breaks (exes/friends), & possibly avoid listening to certain songs or visiting places that may bring back painful memories. I know it may seem extreme or harsh, but until you do so you are sucking up valuable energy that could be opened to new people, experiences, & opportunities that would fill you with joy. Funny note on my cutting the excess...I avoided walking down the cereal aisle for over a year after I had a traumatic ending to my corporate career in that industry. It may seem silly to others, but it worked for my healing process. Do what works for you!


Step 3: Drop The Title

Why is it that after we finally acknowledge & accept our pain we now want to wear it

as a badge of honor - a title to explain to others why we are the way we are? For years

after my divorce I would still lead into conversations with Hi I’m Ally, I’m divorced. It

seemed to be my protective shield from the judgement. Well the longer I held onto that

title the longer the pain from that divorce stayed with me. Eventually I lost the second

half of that introduction which allowed me to try on many more fun endings. Hi I’m Ally,

I’m a traveler...entrepreneur...yogi. My encouragement to you - drop that freakin’ title or

reframe it ASAP. Notice how it can be an instant pick me up when you try on new

positive endings.


Step 4: Focus On What’s Still Thriving

Hear me out...I know there are moments of grief that completely knock you to the ground & you feel like there is no way out. But even on the darkest of days if you squint really hard there may be a shimmer of light. Maybe it’s a person who showed up for you. Maybe it’s a new coping mechanism you discovered. Whatever the case, can you allow yourself to flutter closer to those bright lights to help pull you out? I accidentally discovered yoga when I was at my rock bottom. I could not find any other coping mechanisms that were helping & so I stepped on my mat for the first time. As uncomfortable as it initially felt, something special happened. My mat became my warm hug, my safe space, a place I could cry, & a place I could find strength. Time & time again, I began to lean toward that light when things got tough. Little did I know that little light would someday lead me into an entirely new career.


Step 5: Reap The Benefits

I love the saying breakthroughs come from breakdowns. Initially this may seem like total

BS but the further down the path you get from the grief the more you can recognize the blessings it has brought you. Possibly you were pushed out of your comfort zone & you ended up in a better suited relationship or job than you could have ever imagined. Maybe you discovered more free time to pick up a new hobby or chase a travel dream. Perhaps you created a new benchmark that you can compare future hard times to - well at least it’s not as bad as ___! Most certainly these tough times have delivered two very critical points. First, you have identified those incredible humans who serve as rocks in your life through the good times & the bad. Second, you recognize you came out on the other side - stronger & braver with more grit & resilience to handle the next curveball life throws at you. Heck, I would never have traveled the world nor moved into my current dream career if I hadn’t had the heartbreak I experienced in 2017. What breakthroughs have come from your own breakdowns?


So there you have it...My Top 5 Steps To Turn Your Grief Into Gratitude. On my Thanksgiving list this year: my divorce, a heartbreak, & the messy ending of my corporate career. So are you up for the challenge this holiday? What grief can you now send gratitude towards?

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