Ellen M. Lerner
4 min readDec 10, 2021


What Are Your Unique Ways of Expressing Gratitude?

When I started to heal after my marriage to a pwNPD, all sorts of strange things started happening. It was as if I had been studying all along for this moment…the moment I found myself again and I was doing things instinctively and for the life of me, I don’t know how…

I once said before I literally started counting my blessings. After years of walking around feeling like a victim, I not only no longer felt this way, I was grateful…for everything!

Instead of feeling sad that I had just lost my Mom, I started to look at it this way… I was lucky enough to have her at all.

I literally changed my perspective about everything! I’m telling you…once you start to do this..amazing things happen…

I’m not sure how ‘unique’ this is, but this is exactly what I started to do…

I started making a mental list of every single human being that added something positive to my life. Old friends, even if we had drifted apart, it didn’t matter. I was going to thank them and tell each person what they meant to me.

It wasn’t easy finding some people’s contact information. But I was diligent. I kept a notebook of names, phone numbers and addresses.

Some people I wrote letters to. I wasn’t sure how some people would react…me calling them out of the blue and saying all of the things I wanted to say. I did not part ways in a bad way with any of them, except for one. That was going to be a challenge but I had to do it. And this person in particular I had to do it face to face.

There was a benefit concert in honor of a friend who was a Singer-Songwriter and she passed away at a very young age due to breast cancer. I was invited to this benefit concert, and he was scheduled to play a set…( he being the person I was hoping would hear me out and really listen to what I had to say…)

My best friend came with me. She knew this was a big deal and since I honestly did not know how it was going to go down, she knew there was a possibility that I would be upset…(this is what best friends are for…)

We got there before him. When he walked through the door I felt like I was 20 years old again. I was nervous (and it’s rare for me to be nervous. )

I walked up to him and smiled and said ‘hello.’ He said ‘hi.’ I told him I had just lost my Mom (they were pretty close for a time and he knew how much I loved her) and he just hugged me. And I hugged him back.

He played his set and when he was through, I told him there were some things I wanted to say…would he please come back to my condo and just talk with me for a little while? He actually said yes.

We spoke long into the night…close to early morning. I did most of the talking but anytime I had a question, he really thought about it, answered me honestly and it was pretty amazing… freeing is a good way to put it.

When it was time for him to leave he just smiled. I kissed him on the cheek and told him to just ‘be happy.’ I knew I probably was never going to see him again, but I got to say all the things I wanted to say and I felt like a giant weight had been lifted.

All of the other people I mentioned…they were much easier. Some people were really happy to hear from me after so much time had gone by, and some of these people are still in my life…but no one was overlooked. Especially my very best friend, even though we tell each other all the time how we feel about one another, I wanted her to know she was more than a friend…she was my family.

I still do this. Not in such a dramatic way, but I always remind my friends as we are getting off the phone or saying goodbye after spending the day together how much I love them. How grateful I am for their friendship.

This is just one tiny example of how I speak to my friends and how they speak to me. Even in a simple text message. We never take each other for granted. Never. Practicing gratitude is one of the most important things a person can do. It will change your life…I promise.



Ellen M. Lerner

My name is Ellen. I am a Composer. A Pianist and Vocalist. A Student. A Writer and most of all...I'm a Survivor.