There’s something about gratitude that can be both easy and hard. For example, saying “thank you” is sort of ingrained in many people from childhood. Most people would say it is a good habit and usually comes out automatically. We hear “thank you” when gifts are given, compliments are shared, and when we are presented with monumental opportunities.
But saying, “thank you” is conditional. It is hard if not seemingly impossible when life doesn’t go our way, when we are bombarded with adversity and challenges, and when people are taken from us. These are the hardest times to have gratitude. You might ask, “Why would I give thanks when I just lost my job”? Or, “Why should I be thankful when my husband died from cancer”? These are the moments that seem impossible to be thankful for what we have and find gratitude.
The difficulty lies in how we are taught about gratitude and thankfulness. We are taught to say, “thank you” in the moment and directly for whatever is happening. Gratitude, however, is an attitude. A difficult one to cultivate and maintain for sure, but one that is necessary. One of the greatest weapons against unhappiness and sorrow is gratitude because it forces us to acknowledge ALL of the good things in our lives. In those moments, when vital pieces are missing such as great health, ask yourself if you have any loved ones? If you do, then begin to focus on your appreciation for loved ones in your life. There is likely someone out there with great health but who is alone, lonely, and searching for love and community.
This sort of thinking is not meant to lead to guilt, rather it is helpful in directing our consciousness to the good things that ARE in our lives. Typically, we overlook these things and likely devalue them to the point of even forgetting that we have them. If you realize having gratitude in your life is lacking, you can always start today! What are you thankful for?