Just How Grateful Can You Be?

This is the season for Gratitude.

It’s easy to be thankful, to feel gratitude, for things we receive that we recognize immediately as gifts.

Can you also be grateful for whatever comes into your life that appears in the form of a challenge?

A present that someone sends you, wrapped or unwrapped, that you get to open and go “Oooh” and “Aaah” easily evokes gratitude, especially when it’s unexpected and something you’ll enjoy.

It’s easy to be grateful for having a warm home, for having plenty of food, and loving companions, whether human or animal — if only you remember to appreciate the “little” things that are not so little at all.

The not-so-easy part is gifts come in unexpected forms with unexpected qualities that challenge you.

Such a gift may seem harsh or uncomfortable at first.

Such a gift may push your buttons, evoke fear or anxiety, anger, or even jealousy.

“What?” you ask in astonishment.

“Was that truly a gift when so-and-so was rude to me?

Was it a gift when I discovered that my car wouldn’t start or the person who was supposed to meet me for dinner didn’t show up and didn’t call?

How can it be a gift when someone bullies me or gossips about me?”

We may not recognize it as a gift, at first, when we are treated badly or when something happens that pushes our buttons,.

We may be so caught up in our emotional response that all we can do in that moment is feel our denser emotions surging.

Only in retrospect may we recognize that the experience is an opportunity for gratitude.

Every experience is an opportunity for gratitude.

Stop and consider. Somewhere inside each situation a gift awaits you. And not only one gift, but perhaps even two or three… or more.

These are what I call Seeds of Equivalent Benefit.

These “seeds” are gifts that may need time to grow. They may be hidden, at first, so tiny that your eyes cannot see them, but their presence is certain.

  • Perhaps the gift is to discover who your real friends are.
  • Perhaps the gift encourages you to find your inner courage and to step forward into that courage in a new and more powerful way.
  • Perhaps the gift is an opportunity for you to put aside something that you are strongly attached to in order to discover the freedom of non-attachment.
  • Perhaps the gift is to learn to trust that the Universe (God, Goddess, All That Is) is right there taking care of you, if only you open yourself to receive these blessings.

These are only a few of the true gifts of life’s challenges.

When we open our hearts through gratitude to receive them, we begin to find joy and peace within ourselves, as well as our inner strengths.

To discover hidden gifts, stop the chatter in your head about how terrible the situation is or was, and open yourself and your heart to gratitude.

When you say,…

Read more
  • Partner links