Finding reasons to be thankful and seeking the positive in what appears to be a "negative" situation is not always easy. Just recently, while shopping at Williams-Sonoma, I was surrounded by Holiday ideas for recipes, place settings and candles. Naturally, I started to remember the various ways I have given and donated to others, as well as all that I was deeply thankful for this past year. I could think of a few challenging situations I encountered, but being the optimist that I am, I quickly remembered the blessing that followed—although it wasn't always obvious at the time.
Many of us would admit that it is easy to remember all the negative things that happened in our lives this year. Have you ever noticed when everything is going smoothly in life, it is easy to be thankful, but when we are in the midst of difficult situations,
it may not be as easy? It is all in the way we perceive a situation—whether we view it negatively or positively. Even the negative situations provide us the opportunity to learn to be grateful for the positive or discover a hidden blessing.
It's easier said than done sometimes, but we can learn to search for and discover reasons to feel grateful and appreciative in trying situations. Here are some tips:
Develop a new rule: make a point to discover something to appreciate about every person, situation or experience you encounter. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Change your approach and attitude from a flaw-seeking one to an appreciation-seeking one.
There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. Sometimes lessons are costly, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different choice—and chances are it will be a more wise decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.
Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up a positive memory where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful—a moment when you felt at peace within yourself. Reminiscing about those happy moments gives you a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Thankfully, nothing stays the same!
Learning to discover and receive the bountiful blessings is a commitment we make to ourselves to take control. Start small. I know that I am constantly working on staying positive during challenging times. If we keep going, we will gradually become more appreciative and express our appreciation at the small things in life—those tiny little blessings that often get overlooked.
What fortunate moments stand out to you this past year that leave you feeling ever so grateful?