It’s not always easy to look at the world with happiness, gratitude, or enjoyment. Small things happen all the time that can easily ruin a day: a flat tire on the way to work, spilled coffee, a downpour ten minutes before that big date you’ve spent an hour getting ready for, etc. And that doesn’t even begin to cover what we hear and see on the news all day, every day; however, focusing on the bad things only serves to magnify them and other problems. It’s okay to have bad days, and even to get upset about the bad things that happen, as long as we remember that our lives don’t consist entirely of those things, and that there’s always something to smile about, be grateful for, and hope for.
The Small Things
If you’ve ever come home from a terrible day at work, only to have your dog greet you at the door with tail wags and more kisses than you probably needed, then you know the sort of small things we mean. Puppy kisses, a beautiful sunset, the first snow of winter, the massive Harvest Moon that fills you with awe, or cool Spring rain that finally makes the flowers in your garden bloom. These are the small things that don’t necessarily take the sting out of the harder stuff, but they can still give you a moment of joy, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Whether it is a lover, boss, parent, or best friend, embracing conflict with honesty, respect, and sensitivity is an opportunity to explore the depths of any relationship and come out with not only more respect, but also increased understanding and trust. Conflict is when new ideas are both shared and improved. It displays good character to listen intently to an opposing view with the intent to understand and improve on that relationship. And this is why conflict can bolster love, improve comradery, release tension, flag a potential problem, or offer the opportunity for personal improvement. The only kind of conflict that you should not be grateful for is the abusive variety.
Horrible, Awful, Bad Days
It is actually worse to fear having a bad day than to experience one. Why? Because worrying makes it worse. It brings unnecessary stress, fear, and sadness to every other day that could have been a happy one. So, why should you feel grateful when one of these no good, bad days pops up unexpectedly? Because it is an opportunity to prove to yourself that these days are never as bad as your imagination makes them out to be, and to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you think. It isn’t the severity of the event that catalogs how bad a day is, but how you choose to manage it. You are capable of so much more than you think, and I can say that because most of us do not give ourselves near enough credit. Any bad day is the opportunity to prove that to yourself.
Most anyone feels sadness (and possibly regret) when something is taken from them, be it your home, health, loved one, pet, or close friend. These moments may cause pain to think about, but these memories should not be a burden when they are used to remind you of the love, wonder, and fulfillment they once brought. And for the memories that are not so happy that creep up from time to time, even when you least want them, just remember that everything you are today is a result of the memories you hold, both good and bad.
Change is a double-edged sword, because it can be both happy and sad depending on how it is interpreted. But one thing that can never be denied is that you would never grow, learn, find new opportunities, or break through old barriers if you never accepted these challenges. The world is an awfully scary place when you fear the inevitability of change, but that fear diminishes significantly if you embrace change and feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of each new beginning.
And yeah, it is by far easier to write these words of gratitude than to live by them, but it’s a heck of a lot less painful to live by them than to spend your life worrying and feeling miserable all the time.
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