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What “An Attitude of Gratitude” Really Means

When bad things happen, it’s often hard to see any good in it. It’s easy to get stuck in self-pity, anger and resentment. Efforts to try and make sense of things or to find the specific reason that a bad thing happened are counterproductive. We don’t need those answers before we can begin to rise above. The meaning we discover comes only from what we do with the pain and how we choose to look at it.

When we reduce every event that we experience down to its basic facts, we come to realize that it’s not the experience itself, but rather the meaning we give to it that makes our perception of the experience “good” or “bad.”

That may be a hard thing to grasp in the midst of grief and suffering, but when we stand back over time to see the big picture – we start to understand the truth of it. When we stand in a belief and trust that everything is happening for our highest good, even the “bad” can be flipped to an empowering point of view. We can start to see the event as a learning experience, a stepping stone to something greater, and a gift – no matter how poorly wrapped.

An “attitude of gratitude” is the practice of looking for the possible gift and blessing in everything that happens in our lives. It’s not about being grateful BECAUSE of something – it’s about experiencing a sense of gratitude WITHIN the existence of everything. Living in gratitude is about shifting our perspective. It’s about belief versus doubt. It’s about living in hope and about being present in every moment as we trust that the next moment will be for our good no matter what occurs.  

Everything is for our good. And, everything comes in its own perfect time and way to teach us what we need to know to become our greatest selves.

As we express thanks for all of the “good” that is in our lives this Thanksgiving Season, may we also express thanks for all of the challenges, disappointments, tragedies and losses that we’ve faced. Though they may feel like dark nights of the soul, as we lean into gratitude, we can rest assured that they are equally important and might even become the very answers to our prayers and our deepest heart-felt desires.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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