Finding an attitude of gratitude for the bad stuff

All month long I’ve read Facebook feeds filled with daily offerings of gratitude. It is Thanksgiving, after all, along with the close of the year which gives us a chance to pause and reflect on what really matters in our lives. An exercise which is good to undertake from time to time. We often get caught up in our dramas (and rightfully so) that we forget about all the amazing things which exist in our lives. Stop the comparisons. Stop the judgements. See all the good that you really do have in your surroundings and your life will build off the plenty you have instead of the want you lack.

But in thinking about gratitude, I’ve also thought about being grateful for, well, for all the bad stuff. I’m grateful for the men who dumped me, for the friends who abandoned me. I’m grateful for the inconsiderate, mean, confusing and frustrating moments brought into my life by otherwise amazing family and friends. I’m grateful for every time I failed. I’m grateful for my gremlins and the negative committee which used to meet regularly in my head.

Why?

Because without them, I would have missed out on so much. We know through exercise that we get physically stronger because we are stressing our muscles. We tear them down to build them up. What if the same thing happens with our soul?

It probably is similar but not exactly the same. Constantly breaking your spirit isn’t uplifting. But from time to time, maybe we need a little tear in our soul. Maybe we need to learn a lesson. Or grow. Maybe we need to be prodded to move along, out of a situation that is familiar but no longer useful. Maybe we need to break to come back stronger.

Those moments aren’t pretty. In fact, mine have been downright ugly accompanied at various points with hyperventilation cry, creating a sofa moat, plotting really nasty payback pranks and copious amounts of wine and chocolate. In the moment I would give anything for anything else. That’s usually when an amazing friend steps in and reminds me of all the good things in my life to be grateful for. And then I move on, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes in starts and fits. But I move on and I’m in a different place than I was before and I dare say, every time, a little bit better place. I just didn’t know always know it because I couldn’t recognize it.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for so many wonderful things in my life, big and small. I’m grateful for people. I’m grateful for places. I’m grateful for technology. I’m grateful for my health and fitness and ever evolving sense of self. But I am also grateful to all the jackasses in my life. To all the crap that’s come my way. Not because I enjoyed it, but because it brought to the place I am today. And where I am today, in this moment, is perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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