Sometimes we are grateful for what happens. A beautiful day. A flight with no delays. A quiet and relaxing evening. A holiday with friends and family. A plate of great mac and cheese.
And sometimes we are grateful for what didn’t happen. The change to your schedule that kept you off a highway with an 8-mile backup. The party that was rescheduled to a Saturday with perfect weather. The stomach bug that got everyone in the office or your school except for you and your family.
But is it possible to be grateful for something you wanted to happen that didn’t? You wanted the job promotion, but they chose someone else. You wanted to play piano but there wasn’t the money for lessons when you were younger. You wanted to leave early to avoid the traffic but didn’t. You want your manager to be supportive and encouraging but he isn’t. You want your kids to get along better but they don’t.
It may be easier to say “thank you” when things go our way than when they don’t. But, in the moment of having something happen that you identify as not wanted or unfavorable, could you find something in it that is worthy of gratitude? Could it bring you a lesson you need, a new perspective or just the awareness that you choose to be happy or unhappy in your moments, regardless of what is going on? Consider this: the events of life are neutral – we are the ones that add the value to them.
I am not a believer in the phrase “things happen for a reason.” Instead, I believe it is up to each of us to create value in what happens. Whether things go or don’t go our way, it is up to us to remember that life is this way. You take the good, you take the bad; this is the only time you have.
So, in each moment, stop and notice what is worthy of appreciating because there is something there if you really look. Sometimes it will be easy to find; other times you will really have to search. Both make you better. Both remind you that this moment is up to you to decide how to be in it, whether things go your way or not.
How can you develop gratitude in any moment – the ones that go your way and the ones that don’t? How can you train yourself to be grateful, happy and content no matter what?
We get to decide how to be in each moment. Our habits may need some redirecting, but we do have the ability to be grateful for whatever happens, whether it is for the good things that happen, or for the things you wanted to happen but didn’t. Opportunities and greatness exist everywhere.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading How Your Memories of Childhood Can Improve Your Future