Gratitude in Tough Times

By Traci L. Gaffney

As we know, many people are going through tough times right now. It can be a real challenge to be grateful for what we have, when we have less than we may have had before. It is difficult to be grateful when we feel something has been lost.

If you are up to a challenge, try looking at the circumstances around you from this perspective: When you think of what you have compared to what you had, it may feel like a loss. However, when you think of what you have, compared to what some others have (or don’t have), you may just see how rich you truly are.

When I give thanks for the health of my family, the food that we have available to us every day (some people do not have food every day), the comfortable beds that we sleep in (some people live in cardboard boxes on the street), the friends and family that shower us in love and connection, the ability to water our lawn, watch the roses grow, read a book, pray, watch my daughter get excited about getting better and better at reading, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, being in love, having opportunities before me for work and contribution to others, a car, hair, clothing, music, a beautiful tree in our front yard, great neighbors, and the list goes on and on and on … I suddenly find a way to feel grateful, even on a seemingly difficult day.

What about hugs from our children? The relationship and warmth we receive from our pets? The support of a spouse when we don’t think we can take any more? The hope of a brighter tomorrow? The satisfaction that we found the resources we needed to make something happen?

  • What are you going through?
  • What are your challenges?

Write those down on a piece of paper. Now, take a moment to think of the things that you have that someone else may not have, and write those down. Evaluate your list. How do you feel about things now?

When you are feeling down and are not sure you can make it through what is in front of you, think of just ONE thing that you have that someone else might not. Is it food? Is it hearing the laughter of children? Is it school? A tree? Money? A job? There is something that you have, that another would be grateful for. The KEY is to be grateful for THAT thing. Start there. This is not always easy. However, when I have done this, it puts things into perspective and helps me get through the bumps, and with much more joy, productivity and success.

This is an excellent quote from Les Brown: “Feed your faith and your doubts and fears will starve to death.”How reassuring is that! It doesn’t matter what your faith is. Feed it. Give your attention to that which sustains you. We may be downsizing, simplifying and going through very uncomfortable change. The bottom line is that itWILL make us stronger, it gives us an awesome opportunity to communicate with and teach our children, and we have all heard the saying, “And this too shall pass.” Let’s stick together, be grateful for our abundance, and allow ourselves to go through this process of change and letting go, if that is what is necessary. We are cleansingand we are reconnecting to what is truly important to us.

May all of us have a beautiful Thanksgiving, being grateful for all that we have been given. And may we find a way to contribute to others who have less than we do. It is in those moments when we are truly rich.

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