Giving Thanks for the Unpleasantness

I am grateful to Life for allowing me to experience exactly what my heart needs to grow and prosper and heal.

― Cheryl Richardson


When was the last time you made a conscious effort to express gratitude for the not-so-pleasant things in your life?

Wait! Don’t turn away just yet. My idea isn’t as crazy as it may first appear.

It’s ever so much easier to say thanks for the “good” things in life: that new job, a special vacation, the birth of a grandchild, wonderful friends and family. woman in garden

I’m sure you could add another 10 items easily. Right?

But what about those not-so-great things? That fall you took causing a torn muscle? Or the fender bender you caused? Maybe it was being passed over for a raise or the death of your beloved pet? Or budget belt tightening? Or a seriously ill relative? Or your own health concerns?

How have you expressed your gratitude for those events?

Seriously. How did you give thanks for the unpleasantness in your life?

The fabric of our lives is woven together by evens “good” and “bad” (our definition), by challenges and victories, by laughter and tears. By a wonderful variety of ups and downs, and status quo.

Each of these variations in the rhythm of our lives occurs for a purpose. Often the lesson will be apparent. Sometimes the mystery of the “why” cannot be solved, at least not yet.

I believe these variations provide contrasts to deepen our experience as humans. How can we know great joy if we have not also felt deep sorrow? How can we learn to cherish each moment if we have never squandered our time and then felt regret?

My life would certainly become very boring very quickly if there were no variety. If everything just moved along smoothly. (Although there are days that I wish for this!)

This holiday season I plan to take time to give thanks for the unpleasantness that has occurred in my life this year. Would I actively have chosen these things? Certainly not. Yet, my life is richer for them. I have survived, adapted, and developed new skills as a result.

And I wouldn’t have missed that for the world.


Your Call to Action:

Choose an unpleasantness has happened in your life this year. How did you deal with it – kicking and screaming or with acceptance? What changes occurred in you as a result of this experience? What did your heart need to learn and how can you find gratitude for this?


Giving Thanks for the Unpleasantness — 2 Comments

  1. Robin, thanks for the great reminder that we need to be thankful for all of the things in our lives-the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the moment it is so easy to take things for granted. I have found that when I reflect on them, particularly the challenging ones, it is when I am able to give time to the voices of wisdom and appreciation. I ask myself what is the lesson from this experience-difficult staff, losing a client, conflict with my family, etc. Sometimes it takes a little while for it to hit home 🙂

    • So glad this resonated with you, Librada! You’re right, we are made up of the good, bad, and ugly experiences of our life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.