Gritty Gratitude

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?  You’re running late for every meeting, you’re disappointing people everywhere you turn, and you can’t find that file that you know you saved.  Of course it’s on days like that when the school calls because your kid is sick and you get home to find that the dog peed in the house too.  Days like that are bad enough on their own, but when you string a bunch of them together with no relief, life can feel pretty overwhelming pretty quickly.  You start to feel alone and it becomes harder and harder each day to find anything good in life.  The thing is, when it’s hardest to find something to be grateful for, there’s actually no better time to stop and give thanks.

Sometimes it’s easy to be grateful.  Those are fun days, aren’t they?  It feels good to be positive and tell the people around you how thankful you are that they are in your life.  Encouraging others actually encourages you too, and you could easily make a list a mile long of all the people and things you are thankful for.  Do it!  Enjoy the simplicity of smiling effortlessly and the outpouring of joy that comes when you are truly thankful.   

But sometimes being thankful isn’t easy.  In those moments though, gratefulness is no less important.  Sometimes it takes grit to think of a single thing you are thankful for, and you sure don’t feel like telling anyone about it.  Do it anyway.  Develop the discipline of looking for reasons to be grateful, because they are out there.  Gratitude isn’t just in your head, it’s in your heart and when you have enough grit to be grateful despite the circumstances, it takes root and keeps your heart soft. 

Gratitude isn’t pretending everything is fine when it isn’t.  It’s choosing to shift your focus from stresses in life to notice things around you that you appreciate.  Ordinary things that might be taken for granted are suddenly noticed when you pause and practice gratitude.  Relationships are mended and strengthened when you share with people what it is that you appreciate about them.  As your perspective shifts from life’s difficulties to life’s blessing, I think you’ll notice that expressing gratitude just might even be linked to happiness.

I don’t know where you’re at this Thanksgiving season.  If it’s easy to be thankful, then do it loud and often!  Be awkward, tell the people in your life exactly what it is about them that makes you smile.  If it’s not easy for you to be thankful today, then I hope you choose to be gritty and grateful anyway.  Even when you feel like you’re at rock bottom, there is still hope on the other side.  Dig deep and look for something to be grateful for.  It will change your perspective and boost your mood.  Want to enjoy this Thanksgiving season more? 

Choose to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not, and watch how it changes you from the inside out.