Most people find it fairly easy to find gratitude for their blessings But how many of us can find gratitude for the bad things that happen to us? Or for the things we don’t want in our lives?
Fair enough. We get to be human. We’re allowed to fell anger, jealousy, maybe even resentment. Sometimes our world gets turned upside down and we become totally numb. But the problem comes when we choose to stay in that mode, as angry, resentful, victim.
My first husband died unexpectedly at a rather young age. I was lost initially in the throes of anger, disbelief, and traumatized shock. And I could have chosen to stay there. Everyone around me would have understood.
I admit I was locked into this state for many months, and then barely able to function for many, many months after that. If someone had asked me to be grateful for the experience, I would have raged and sworn like a stevedore. Being grateful felt like insanity — for an extremely long time.
And yet, over time as I processed my grief and came to terms with what had happened, I also began to open up to other opportunities: helping other women plan for surviving their spouses, which turned into empowering women in all aspects of their lives, which turned into writing a book, and a blog, and coaching other women.
I really don’t think any of this would have happened had there not been a premature death in my family.
There have been other bad things that have happened throughout my lifetime. And I could have chosen to embrace being a victim for each of them. Instead, I did what I needed to take care of myself, physically, mentally and spiritually, with the help of many others. (You know who you are, and I will be forever grateful.)
What I have found is that life just is. It’s a combination of good and bad experiences.
So I have learned to be grateful for disastrous or undesirable things that happen to me. It may not materialize quickly and I may never fully understand why they occurred, but I eventually I find the gratitude for the experience. Because I know gifts can be found there: I get stronger, I learn something, and I appreciate the good things ever so much more when they show up.
Now It’s Your Turn
Pick a difficult experience in your life. Can you find gratitude for it? If not, what would open the door just a little, to let some gratitude in? If you have found gratitude, what else did you discover?