Ever have a moment where a song you’ve heard a million times suddenly strikes you? You relate to the music so strongly that it stirs up some serious emotions; maybe it even brings you to tears?

I had a moment like that today. To a pop song. By Ariana Grande. Something I never really expected. I know she’s had her share of very public personal issues, but I haven’t followed them too closely.

I’m not ashamed to share that I like pop music; I listen to 101.3 KDWB as one of the stored stations in my car. The songs are usually easy to sing along with, though often times the music feels pretty surface level. I listen to other music, too, but I do find myself frequently listening to the top 40 stations.

So there I am. In my car. Driving home to study. And Ariana Grande comes on, singing thank u, next. The first 40,000 times I heard the song, I really just thought it was a song about moving on and finding love again – surface level. Today, I really heard it. It hit me hard. This is the verse that nearly had me in tears:

Spend more time with my friends
I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’
Plus, I met someone else
We havin’ better discussions
I know they say I move on too fast
But this one gon’ last
‘Cause her name is Ari
And I’m so good with that

This song wasn’t about moving on. I mean, it is, but not in the way I thought. It was about the struggles she’s faced in her relationships, the things she learned, the heartbreaks and subsequently finding herself. She is talking about moving on so she couldĀ finally meet herself.

I want to take a minute to back the truck up and talk about how relationships impact us. No matter the length. How invested we were. Whether it turned into marriage. Or perhaps was going to but didn’t. Maybe children were involved. Maybe it’s a relationship with your parents, siblings, or your own children. Maybe it’s a friendship. Every single relationship we have will change us. We learn. We grow. Sometimes we fall to our knees because of the pain the relationship causes. But every single relationship somehow shapes who we become. And every relationship has the potential to end in heartbreak. The kind of heartbreak that no matter how much people say “This will make you stronger” you don’t want to hear it because you don’t want to be stronger, you simply want the heartbreak to stop.

One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I’m so amazing
I’ve loved and I’ve lost
But that’s not what I see
So, look what I got
Look what you taught me
And for that, I say

As I continue to build my life, I have been reflecting on my relationship with my ex-husband. The good times and bad times. I think about how much it broke my heart to leave him. I think about how much it broke my heart for YEARS leading up to the divorce, knowing I simply couldn’t hold on much longer, and how isolating that feeling was. I think about how much it broke my heart that my kids were now going to grow up in the reality of life with divorced parents.

Most recently, though, when I reflect on that time in my life, I think about how much it shaped me. How much I have learned because of it. How strong the entire experience from beginning to end has made me. And I think about how that time in my life made me a mother to 2 incredible children; something I wouldn’t take back for the world. That time in my life makes me thankful for the life I get to live. Every. Single. Day.

Other people that know me well have noticed too, and have told me they’ve seen a change.

She taught me loveĀ 
She taught me patienceĀ 
How she handles pain
That shit’s amazingĀ 
I’ve loved and I’ve lostĀ 
But that’s not what I seeĀ 
‘Cause look what I’ve foundĀ 
Ain’t no need for searching, and for that, I say
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
Thank you, nextĀ 
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex

Today, as that song came on, I thought to myself I am thankful for my ex for being a part of shaping who I am today. I am grateful for the woman I have become. I’m thankful that I am in my next chapter. I am also thankful for artists that share themselves with the world, inspire us, and connect us to one another, beyond just the surface.

~Bettering Bonnie

Thought I’d end up with Sean
But he wasn’t a match
Wrote some songs about Ricky
Now I listen and laugh
Even almost got married
And for Pete, I’m so thankful
Wish I could say, “Thank you” to Malcolm
‘Cause he was an angel
One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I’m so amazing
I’ve loved and I’ve lost
But that’s not what I see
So, look what I got
Look what you taught me
And for that, I say
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next (next)
I’m so fuckin’
Spend more time with my friends
I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’
Plus, I met someone else
We havin’ better discussions
I know they say I move on too fast
But this one gon’ last
‘Cause her name is Ari
And I’m so good with that (so good with that)
She taught me love (love)
She taught me patience (patience)
How she handles pain (pain)
That shit’s amazing (yeah, she’s amazing)
I’ve loved and I’ve lost (yeah, yeah)
But that’s not what I see (yeah, yeah)
‘Cause look what I’ve found (yeah, yeah)
Ain’t no need for searching, and for that, I say
Thank you, next (thank you, next)
Thank you, next (thank you, next)
Thank you, next (thank you)
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex
Thank you, next (thank you, next)
Thank you, next (said thank you, next)
Thank you, next (next)
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
I’m so fucking
One day I’ll walk down the aisle
Holding hands with my mama
I’ll be thanking my dad
‘Cause she grew from the drama
Only wanna do it once, real bad
Gon’ make that shit last
God forbid something happens
Least this song is a smash (song is a smash)
I’ve got so much love (love)
Got so much patience (patience)
I’ve learned from the pain (pain)
I turned out amazing (turned out amazing)
I’ve loved and I’ve lost (yeah, yeah)
But that’s not what I see (yeah, yeah)
‘Cause look what I’ve found (yeah, yeah)
Ain’t no need for searching
And for that, I’ll say
Thank you, next (thank you, next)
Thank you, next (thank you, next)
Thank you, next
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex
Thank you, next (thank you, next)
Thank you, next (said thank you, next)
Thank you, next (next)
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
Yeah, yee
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
Thank you, next
Yeah, yee
Songwriters: Ariana Grande / Charles Michael Anderson / Michael Foster / Taylor Monet Parks / Tommy Brown / Victoria Monet McCants / Kimberly Krysiuk
thank u, next lyrics Ā© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group