Remember the teacher who said your reading had to improve, bringing your self-esteem down to the ground? Or the heartbreaking sadness you felt when your parents got divorced? What about the time you had your heart set on being on a team, only to find out you didn’t make it? Or that sinking feeling in your stomach when the doctor said that something might be wrong?
Those are the times in our life when we are challenged both physically and mentally. Seeing the road with no end in sight, from fear to exhaustion, many emotions arise. Is it fair to say that feeling grateful is not usually what comes to mind?
Yet, we are hearing more and more about the power of gratitude for turning unfortunate circumstances, into something positive, something many of us continue to struggle with.
In my attempt to make sense of this belief, a quote by philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson comes to mind,
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Certainly, it’s easy to be grateful for good things for it’s the good things that bring us joy and pleasure. He further states that all things play a role in our progress and development, which I take to include all things, good and bad.
While we may be annoyed or upset in the moment, it’s often the challenging times that help us to become a better person.
During this weekend of Thanksgiving in Canada, can you take a few moments to reflect on your life and think about the experiences and people for which you are grateful?
- What are your greatest achievements and who helped you to get there?
- What are some fun times and cherished memories with friends and family you will not ever forget?
- What are some of your darkest moments and who supported you along the way?
- What are some mistakes you’ve made that taught you to do it differently for the next time?
- Have you hurt or offended anyone that brought light to your own self-awareness?
- Have you looked around to understand the living situations of others and realized your own fortune?
- Have you experienced illness or disability with a family member that has helped you to realize the importance of your own health?
- Has a personal loss or disappointment provided you with a renewed purpose in life?
- Did something or someone create a barrier for you which you were determined to overcome?
- Did your successes and failures teach you about your strengths and abilities?
If you answer these questions, I believe you will see there is lots for which to be thankful.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie