walking with a friend in the dark, dear girlfriend who is stressedA friend just found a job after looking for a year. When I congratulated him, he replied, “It’s been a tough year.”

It has been … for a lot of us. Some friends have dealt with health issues and job loss. A college girlfriend of mine is in hospice care which is surreal and very, very sad. Another dear friend just lost her husband. More than one friend is trying to figure out their place in the working world while another girlfriend struggles with being supportive of her husband who is unemployed. Our 401k’s have decreased and our stress increased. Aging parents, ill family members and uncertain futures have plagued so many of us and I’m sure you have some similar stories. It’s been a tough year.

But, for one day, let’s try not to focus on the ‘tough times.’ Let’s look at those as being things we’ve dealt with (or are dealing with) and, with the strength we’ve developed by going through stress and hard times, we’ve learned and grown – even if it has been sad or extremely difficult. We’re still here to celebrate a holiday based on gratitude and thankfulness. So even in tough times, we have much to be grateful for – and perhaps that gives us a more thankful perspective on life.

Instead, let’s be conscious of the blessings in our lives – the people and experiences who make us who we are and make life an adventure and joy.

I’m thankful for the amazing women who bless my life on a constant basis – the girlfriends I know from Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn who share their days and lives, the neighbors who make book club ‘laugh therapy,’ my coffee/church girlfriends who challenge and support me, the fellow entrepreneurs who encourage and assist me, the wonderful women who I’ve grown to love from previous jobs/schools/events – for all the fabulous female friends who accept me as I am and are there for me.

I’m blessed with the opportunity to pursue my passion and build a community of women supporting women. My health is good, my husband is loving, the pets are sweet and the house got through this ‘tough’ year without too much maintenance (thankfully!). We’re in a community of friends who ‘do life’ together – the good years and the not-so-good times. I’m even grateful for the tough year and the lessons we’ve learned, how we’ve supported each other and the friendships that have grown out of a time of shifted priorities.

Was it a tough year for you? What are you thankful for? Who has blessed your life with their friendship and support?

Share and inspire! (And, for ideas on how to express your admiration and appreciation of friends and family, check out Girlfriend Advice for Tough Situations | How to be A Better Friend.

p.s. Several years ago a very dear friend passed away right before Thanksgiving (and her memorial was the Saturday after Thanksgiving). So, in memory of Holly, thanks for your friendship and for being a beautiful, amazing women.

More girlfriend inspiration on Thanksgiving: (check these out for great Thanksgiving quotes and videos to share!)

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