Gratitude for the “Not so Good”

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.

For the job we have, the house we go home to, the family that loves us-but how am I supposed to be grateful for the crappy things that happen?

It took me a really long time to realize I was grateful for my eating disorder. When I tell people that I am grateful for it, they give me the “crazy alert” look.

The years of isolation, depression, shame, guilt, obsession-taught me more about the importance of life than anything else.

If it weren’t for my eating disorder, I wouldn’t be at Ohio State. If it weren’t for my eating disorder I wouldn’t know what it’s like to fight for a relationship through thick AND thin (or thin and thick-really, does anyone even know which one is bad?) I wouldn’t have the empathy and rapport I possess for others.  I wouldn’t be majoring in Social Work or started Project HEAL- the two things that led me to meet my very best friends.

At the surface, we see things in our life that our “bad.” But in truth, every single thing that happens has something to teach you. They help to mold and create you into a stronger, braver, wiser person.

When engaging in your daily gratitude, consider thinking about things that you previously thought of as setbacks. Ask yourself what you learned from this, how it made you a better person.

Being able to recognize and express gratitude for life’s setbacks comes much easier if you have already created a habit for expressing your gratitude for the good things. The more you engage in daily gratitude the more you’ll begin to see what every situation gives you~

Start Simple

Beginning with the obvious questions isn’t a bad place to start. Saying “I’m grateful I have a roof over my head” but not meaning it is okay. That will come the more you practice. Starting with statements like these will allow you to see the true quality of life’s challenges-once you work up to that point.

Look Inwards

Moving internally is where you will discover yourself. Remember how you said you were grateful for the roof over your head but didn’t actually mean it? Delving inwards can help you wrestle with this, and show you all of the reasons you truly ARE grateful for the house you live in.

Shift Your Perspective

It’s easy to get so caught up in all that is going on in our own little world that we forget about all the things that happen all around us every single day. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, look at all of the wonderful and amazing things you do possess in your life. This shift will help you to look at the bigger picture of the world, and keep you from getting stuck in your own bubble.

Find Presence

I truly believe that every moment, every challenge, and every day presents itself with a unique beauty all its own. You may not be able to see it right away, and you may not see it all the time. However, given some reflection and pondering, try to find what each day has offered you-no matter how small that beautiful gift is.

Reframe

If you had everything you desired, what would there be to look forward to?

If you knew everything, what would there be to learn?

If there were no challenges in life, how would you build strength and character?

If you never made mistakes, how would you ever learn valuable life lessons?

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings

According to a study done by The Wall Street Journal,

“Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections”

The more you focus on it, the more your mind naturally looks for reasons to be grateful. And the more you look for them, the more you notice them. And the more you notice them, the more grateful you feel.

Gratitude gives you true clarity and focus on how your successes came to be.

Practicing this gives you the confidence to do the other scary tasks at hand and continuously catapult your life forward.

What goodness have you created in the last day, week, months or year?
Forgetting to celebrate your successes can lead to a total energy drain. Graciously, humbly celebrating success can booster the commitment to repeatedly go after your heart’s desire. It helps you steer clear of that sabotaging little voice that says, “I can’t, I’m not enough … I’m too much … I’ll never do anything right. I’ll never … ”
It is also a reminder that it is not only about us. Deep, bountiful success is about giving.
Give and give all.

Sometimes the best way to fix what isn’t working is to first focus on what is.
Everything gets easier when we move past fear and desperation and nurture a grateful, hopeful heart.

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