How to Be Grateful When Things Aren't That Great

Have you ever found yourself dwelling on things that aren’t going well in your life? I think we all do that to some extent and its important to be aware of it. Today is Thanksgiving in the US and its a day I like to remember to purposely live in gratitude for the simple things in life that we can often take for granted. When I purposely think about or even journal a few things I am truly grateful for everyday, it has a huge impact on my well-being and suddenly the things that I thought were terrible begin to soften for me a little. Some days are harder than others of course but I can always find a few new things for which I am grateful.

In all honesty lately its been a lot more difficult for me to find gratitude in my life. Things aren’t great at work, the organization I work for is going through a very poorly planned restructure, and I can share a whole lot more but lets just leave it there and say I am ready for my next career opportunity. The trouble is, I spend the majority of my time at work and need to be full time in order to help support my family financially. Life is basically handing me a “shit sandwich” with respect to my career right now. The interviews I’ve been on haven’t been quite working out or the opportunities just weren’t for me. When I spiral down negatively with regards to my career, I remember this:

Something is happening FOR me right now, not to me. I am here, right now for a reason. This is only temporary and I will know when it is time to leave. I am grateful I have a job that helps pay the bills and affords the opportunity to put our son in a wonderful daycare where he is thriving. My family and I also have great health benefits and 401K and I have the flexibility to work from home once a week. I remember that working in less than ideal situations with poor management is an opportunity for me to look at myself, my work product, and make changes for me. I am grateful for this learning experience during this tough period of my life and take full responsibility for making the most of my experience in this role.

I am also a new mom and I often miss my regular sleep. My son Donovan is 6 months old and mostly sleeps through the night but there are several times when he wakes up and I am awake with him for feedings. Not having my regular sleep can often make me feel scattered, unfocused or just plain cranky and annoyed. I often feel resentful for not getting the sleep I need. When Donovan goes to sleep at night, there are so many things I need to get done from washing and sanitizing his bottles from daycare, letting the dog out, straightening up the house, cooking dinner, pumping breast milk for the next day, writing on my blog, working out, or just giving myself 15 minutes to wind down in a bath. Sometimes I feel like I can’t fit it all in and while my husband Brett helps out, it still feels overwhelming. So when I “go there” I remember this,

Donovan won’t be a baby forever. I love him so much and I am grateful for having him in my life. This is an important time for me to relax and enjoy the experience of being a new mom to a beautiful boy. This is also an opportunity to enjoy the mundane more often and to be present in specific areas of my life. I can also accept the fact that it all can’t be done and not everything will be perfect, and that’s more than ok. This is also a new chapter for Brett and I and we are both learning to be parents to Donovan and together in our marriage. I am grateful for this opportunity for expanded learning and love in my life.

After reading this to myself, I feel my heart softening, I feel light, happy, and grateful for all of the wonderful things happening in my life. It is because I choose to embrace the joy and happiness, despite external circumstances being less than ideal. I just don’t allow myself to dwell in that space for too long. When we embrace gratitude regularly, we allow for much more of it in our hearts. It only takes 5-10 minutes a day to remind ourselves what is already great and what is happening for us, not to us.

Happy Thanksgiving! <3