Gratitude for transforming life’s ups and downs to opportunities

Discover how embracing gratitude can turn every moment into an opportunity for joy, resilience and more.
 
Reflecting on why I embody such a bright and sunny disposition, I recently pondered questions I’m frequently asked:
 
  • How do you maintain kindness when it’s not always returned
  • What allows you to be so open and vulnerable in your writing?
  • How do you stay positive with all of your challenges?
  • Your resilience is remarkable, how do you do it?
 
After some deep introspection (which I consider a superpower of mine.) The answer that emerged was Gratitude.
 
Surviving cancer and chemotherapy at 18 instilled a profound appreciation for life in me. I believe I’m living on borrowed time and don’t want to be ungrateful for any of it, make sense? This gratitude transforms every experience into an opportunity.
 

Gratitude extends to the simplest moments of life:

  • Savoring a morning coffee.
  • Enjoying the singing of our canary.
  • Even the clumsy stumble that requires a quick save.
  • Having a tissue to wipe my nose
  • A ‘Hello’ from someone or a smile that helps me feel seen
  • Someone valuing my opinion on something
  • Or sending me a referral
 
Making Gratitude Personal
 
Each instance is an opportunity for gratitude. I make it personal, letting folks know I appreciate THEM, not just what they did. This approach transforms everyday, transactional interactions into meaningful exchanges, uplifting both of you.
 
Being so present is probably why I’m spectacular at listening, getting to the bottom of problems quickly, and spotting solutions everyone else misses. While others are in their heads, trying to wrangle their own insecurities while also trying to be resourceful, I’m fully engaged in the moment.
 
The bottom line! When things go right, I pause to savor the moment, whispering a heartfelt “Thank you.” Allowing me to feel it instead of just saying it.
 
Conversely, when things go awry – a mistake, a spill, or pain – my response remains the same: “Thank you.”
 
Of course I feel sadness, anger, disappointment and all of the emotions that come with being human. I’m in no way suggesting gratitude at the expense of feeling the difficult emotions. I’m grateful for them too because they’re messengers, teachers that help protect us and show us the kind of support we need. If we ask for and accept it that is.
 
Turning Gratitude Into A Superpower
 
Now here’s where we turn gratitude into a superpower. When something feels good, your brain creates wiring so you’re encouraged to do the thing again. I wonder what happens when you allow yourself to feel the gratitude, each time you notice an opportunity to show gratitude and act on it. I also wonder if you become wired to spot those opportunities more often as a result. Hmmmmmm.
 
How does that work with the tougher emotions, am I supposed to feel good while feeling bad? Not at all, when you’re feeling the tough emotions you’re also practicing self-compassion and giving yourself grace. That’s where the good feelings come from that increase the wiring mentioned previously.
 
Final Thoughts
 
So remember, it’s in our imperfections where we find our common humanity, and opportunities for self-acceptance, awareness, and compassion. Learn to be grateful for all of it.
 
Remember, the universe is constantly giving to you–from the air we breathe to the love we receive and the acts of giving and gratitude we’re privileged to witness. Allow it all to fill you up and empower you.
 
Start a gratitude practice like this now if you like. Share your experiences of finding joy in the small moments and how gratitude for them has transformed your life.
 
Let’s inspire each other with our human stories of appreciation, resilience and kindness!
 
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