This month, most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving—a time to reflect on and be grateful for all the blessings we have received. And that is a good thing. Gratitude is important for having a healthy life. Still, we tend to skip over our uncomfortable or distressing experiences of life—adversities that may even have pushed us to our limits.
But let me ask you a question. When is the last time you gave thanks for the hard times? You know, the moments when everything seemed to crumble, you could not see the next step, or no possible solution presented itself. We aren’t usually grateful for these 9 things. But starting now, we should be.
TrialsWhen we face trials and challenges, we grow in maturity, character, and experience.
“Resistance equals growth.” I used these words continually as a personal trainer while helping my clients achieve their fitness goals. In short, to get bigger, faster, or stronger in the gym, you have to do the work and put the time in. It’s the same in other parts of life. When we face trials and challenges, we grow in maturity, character, and experience.
Coach John Wooden said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” Failures allow us the opportunity to assess where we went wrong and make the necessary adjustments not only to prevent repeating our mistakes but to learn from them.
While it may take time to recover from big failures, little disappointments can accumulate and likewise bring us down. Instead, consider where the blessing in disguise might be, and that a greater opportunity may present itself at the right time.
Yes, that person. Loving the unlovable forces us to go somewhere deep within ourselves and instead of hardening our hearts, we are given the opportunity to express grace, compassion, and unconditional love. There’s a scripture I really like that says, “If you only love those who love you, what reward do you have?”
I want to be sensitive to anyone who has suffered tremendous loss here. I too know what that is like. I think quarantine and COVID-19 put a lot of this into perspective. Many experienced loss of finances, personal freedoms, time with your children, or even loss of loved ones. Loss illuminates a greater appreciation of what we did have.
The differences we have with other individuals, such as opinions or cultures should not divide us. Each human being is unique in his or her own way, and that is what makes this world so beautiful. Instead of allowing differences with your neighbor, relative, or coworker to divide you, see it as an opportunity to learn something new and gain a different perspective. You may realize just how similar you really are.
We tend to view stress as a bad thing, and it surely can have adverse health repercussions. However, there are many reasons to be grateful for good or moderate stress. These include improvement in brain function, boosting your immune system, and increased resilience.
This year could be considered one of the all-time best (or worst) years for unforeseen change. A pandemic rewrote just about everything we regularly do—down to the most minute detail. However, COVID-19 also brought out the best in our capabilities for innovation and leadership in our homes, communities, and places of employment.
There is a story of an elderly father who, after rummaging through the attic, finds his now-grown son’s journal. He then hurries to his study to find his own journal. The old man glances over the pages of both books and comes across a specific date: June 4. His journal inscription reads, “Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn’t catch a thing.” The words of his precious then six-year-old son read differently: “Went fishing with my dad. Best day of my life.” We rush through this life far too fast. Don’t let the moments right in front of you go without giving the thanks they deserve.
Sound off: What else have you overlooked but are grateful for?