It’s easy to feel a sense of gratitude for all the amazing, wonderful things in life. But life is not always roses and unicorns. We’re human, and subject to the forces of chance, bad luck and errors in judgement. We’re going to mess it up at some point. Can gratitude apply here too?
Looking back at my 20s, I can see where I made choices that were less than ideal. Ok, some of my choices were really stunningly bad. But I’ve stopped beating myself up over my mistakes. For one thing, it’s all water under the bridge now. No amount of self-flagellation will change any of those choices now. And, perhaps more importantly, making those bad choices was an opportunity for me to learn about myself and the real world by actually LIVING in it. Living is a pretty messy business, but the things I’ve learned from getting in there and mucking around are some of the most powerful, lasting lessons I’ve learned.
Gratitude can be for the difficult times as well as the sweet. It is for the days where we struggle and cry and let go of everything we thought we knew. Like a toddler crying what Dr. Neufeld calls ‘tears of futility’, it is in the challenging times that we learn where our limits are and grow stronger. I can be grateful for that.