I had a couple of post ideas in mind, but figured I should really post about gratitude. Since its Thanksgiving tomorrow and all.
So, here we go.
You are probably expecting the usual reminder to look around you at all the things you have to be thankful for. Family, friends, shelter, food to eat, love, and laughter.
I can see why you thought that though. That’s what we (society) always talk about. Why? Because sometimes we get so busy, so wound into the hustle and bustle that we forget to stop and look around at the things we have in our lives. Practicing gratitude is a great (even essential) tool to truly living in the present. Being grateful for the delightful smell of a burning leaf pile in the fall grounds us, and makes us stop worrying about the past or the future for just a moment. We are thankful for the present so we pay attention to the present.
That’s all good right?
(Its not a trick question. Yes, that is all good.)
But- I also said that’s not what this was going to be about. In many ways it’s a little too simple to ONLY give thanks for those good things. Yes – we must be thankful for them, and often, but we cannot stop with the good things.
When was the last time you were thankful for adversity? For challenge? For pain? For bad circumstances? For difficult people?
For most of us – never. Or close enough. Sure, we say we are thankful for a challenge because without challenges we can’t grow. Do we always believe that?
So, here’s a challenge for you this week. Once you’ve given thanks for all of the good people, things, and experiences in your live (seriously, still do this part), consider the less-than-good parts.
Consider being thankful for and adversity that reminded you what you really needed and pointed out what you only thought you needed.
Consider being thankful that a we endured pain. Perhaps it made us into a deeper, more real version of ourselves.
Consider being thankful for that difficult person you have to deal with, because they make you increase your store of patience.
Consider being thankful for someone who loudly and often rudely disagrees with you – if only because it forces you to consider WHY you believe what you believe, and it encourages you to do your homework and get your facts.
Consider being thankful for negative circumstances that helped to show you who you can count on (sometimes we are surprised).
Consider being thankful for local or world news stories that break your heart because sometimes what breaks our heart spurs us to take action.
I’m not asking you to be thankful for EVERYTHING. Some wounds are too deep and too raw. It is ok not to be thankful for those wounds. But maybe, just maybe there is a little gratitude for something around the edges that you never expected.
Look a little closer
Today, I am choosing to be grateful for all the “no’s,” all the doors closing and opportunities ending. They made me stronger, smarter, braver, more creative, and more determined than ever.
And of course, I am grateful to each of you – for taking a moment to consider.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.