Show a Little Gratitude

by Heather Castellanos

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Why does it always seem that the bad stuff overshadows the good? What makes the positive things in our lives become veiled by the negative so easily? Life, these days, is so complicated. There is so much danger, hunger, strife, disease, fear, struggle, and pain around- we are constantly reminded by the media, by the general attitudes of most people, and by our own subconscious. For most of us, it takes true effort to focus on what is positive and joyful in our everyday lives. Why is that? Don't we, as humans, crave joy and happiness? Isn't that what we are eternally searching for?? Then why is it so difficult for us to recognize it in our lives? If you are sitting there saying to yourself, "because there isn't anything in my life to be happy about," I say, SHAME ON YOU! There is always something to be thankful for. There is always sunshine behind the clouds. It never completely goes away, we just experience eclipses now and then.

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Personally, I have been experiencing one of those eclipses lately in my life where the bad crap seems to just keep on coming. I am in no way looking for any kind of sympathy, simply setting up my perspective. So, even though I'm having one of those WTH, SMH weeks, months, years, 'tis the season where we are reminded to change the way we are thinking, even if just for a day. I hate that I need a reminder, but I do. Thanksgiving is this week and I have a lot to be thankful for...and so do you.

Are you one of those people who is constantly struggling to find your sunshiny thoughts? Think you have nothing to be thankful for? To all you gloomy Eeyores out there, here are some of the things I am thankful for- feel free to steal:

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My health

I can confidently say I am in good health, and for that I am extremely grateful. I have my share of aches, pains, blah, blah, but I am disease-free, can breath on my own, have all my limbs, the list goes on and on; but the bottom line is, my body works and I can function on my own without anyone's help. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have witnessed someone in our life experience serious health issues. It is a horrible experience to watch someone close to you suffer with his/her health. It also tends to be things like this that give us the reality check of how important our health really is. We shouldn't need that kind of reminder to be thankful for our good health when we have it. My heart goes out to anyone who is struggling with their health. Be grateful for yours. 

My friends and family

I am surrounded by a core group of family and friends (and dogs :)) who, I know for sure, would come if ever I called- and for whom I would do the same. I know I have people I can rely on when I need them and who care about my well-being. I don't always get to spend as much time with these people as I would like, but I do know who they are and that they are there for me. There is no question. Think about those people in your life- it may be only a couple. Maybe a mom, dad, significant other, sibling, child? No one is perfect, so for a moment, try to forget about any of the little things they may do that annoy you, or that little squabble you had last week. That's not the important stuff. You are fortunate to have them in your life. 

My job

I have been fortunate enough to find a job that I truly enjoy. I know that may not be the case for all of you reading this. Perhaps you even would go so far as to say you hate your job. If that is the case, I do feel for you. Still...however bad it may be, at least you have been given the opportunity to make a living. Especially these days, and especially in our little state, there are many people who do not have that opportunity and who would do anything to have the job you have. Be grateful you have the ability to provide for yourself.

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My self-awareness

This may seem like a strange one, but I am thankful that I have been blessed with enough confidence and intelligence that I know who I am, what I believe, and what I want from my life. This sense of self, alone, has allowed me the privilege of pursuing and accomplishing things that I know will bring joy to my life. I say this because I have met many individuals who have not yet discovered these things about themselves. When I think about that, it must be a sad place to be. I am thankful for all those people and experiences that helped me find out who I am, and have supported my journey in my personal pursuit of happiness. If you have been fortunate enough to find yourself, be thankful for that. 

There is always something to be thankful for. Always. Try to take a few minutes this week and identify yours. Make an effort to see through all the dark clouds and clutter in your life and find the gems. I'm sure they are there. If those gems are or involve people in your life, call them and tell them that. Let them know they are important to you and you are grateful for their presence in your life. Is there any better time than now?