The Gift of Gratitude.

How can I be thankful for my life? How can I find gratitude when events take a turn for the worse? The answer for me lies in ‘perspective’.

My computer crashed suddenly and spectacularly at the beginning of the week. It wasn’t just the inconvenience of being without the internet, it was the possibility that I had irretrievably lost some of my recent work that worried me. Any other time, this might have sent me into a panic at best and at worst, a prolonged period of ‘Why me?’

But I was able to accept the situation for what it was – a technical failure which meant I had to change a few things. My perception had been impacted by what had happened the day before. A letter had arrived to confirm the need for further treatment following a biopsy. It wasn’t what I had hoped for. Yet I could look at the positive side because of what happened the day before that. The death of a friend.

Perspective. No matter what was going on for me, the fact was that I had a life. My computer could be replaced. My work could be rewritten. My illness could be treated. How could I not be grateful?

Gratitude is a gift. And like any present, it is something that benefits the giver and the receiver. Thankfulness is so much more than an emotion. It is a choice to appreciate what you have. It is a decision to accept yourself and others for what you or they are.

Yet the more grateful we feel, the more our eyes are opened to the miracles that take place in our lives every day. We are touched by the blessings that appear and this allows us to reach out to others. Whether it is a simple ‘Thankyou’ or an extravagant gift, heartfelt appreciation always reaps rewards. It can turn someone’s ordinary day into an extraordinary occasion.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
~ Marcel Proust

In the past, my psychological damage and depression meant long periods of being unable to find anything to be thankful for.  My mind was so busy dealing with the pain that I became emotionally frozen. I could barely feel or express anything, but especially not gratitude.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

Life can be harsh, but the best way to deal with those troubled times is to count your blessings. Finding even one small thing to be thankful for can take you out of self-pity. Gratitude can help you find peace in chaos and relief from pain. It can spark the light that leads you out of the tunnel.

Learning how to be grateful brought healing to me. Through my faith and my family I learnt not only how to love others and myself, but also how to love my journey. I am grateful for the life I have had because it has made me the person that I am today. I can love my life because of my past and not despite of the pain. The gift of gratitude has set me free to embrace life on life’s terms, and that is freedom indeed.

No matter what happens today I’m going to find time to say ‘Thankyou!’ Will you join me?

Top image http://www.etsy.com/listing/94172614/may-you-wake-up-with-gratitude  thanks to Lori Porter