The past few months have been filled with highs and a lot of lows. Just yesterday, I shared with a friend how 2015 has been one of my toughest years since becoming a mother over 14 years ago. But I’m excited about all of the amazing projects I have been working on, and am optimistic my life is aligning in a way I couldn’t see happening just 3 short months ago. I’ve never taken anything for granted in my life and I’m truly taking the time to be in the moment.
Many years ago, I learned that gratitude somehow takes away the bitterness that comes into our lives when we are experiencing times that leave us feeling alone, frustrated and adrift. I also learned that when I set down the bottle of bitterness and raised a glass of gratitude, I healed, found peace and became opened to the idea that perhaps my trials are part of my journey to greatness.
It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count. True, it is important to frequently “count our blessings”—but I don’t believe we should be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease. It’s about adopting an overall spirit or attitude of gratitude. In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, focus on being thankful in your circumstances; whatever they may be.
You can choose to limit your gratitude, based on the blessings you feel you lack. Or you can choose to be grateful, no matter what. As humans, myself included, we sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life passes us by waiting to see the rainbow before being grateful that there is rain? Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does, however, mean that through the eyes of hope we look beyond our present-day challenges. This is gratitude from the heart and not the lip.
True gratitude is an expression of hope. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will. A young child does not need to see the Tooth Fairy, to believe he or she will find a dollar, left by the Tooth Fairy, under their pillow the morning after losing a tooth. Hope can help you look past the disappointment and see the bright future life has in store for you.
I know it is difficult to find things to be grateful for when it feels like most things are going wrong, but always remember, “it too shall pass.” No matter what storm you may be going through today just know that as you walk through it remain in a spirit of gratitude.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with laughter, blessings, and overflowing love. Happy Thanksgiving!