This month has been a doozy, and it’s not even June yet. There have been so many moments where I just wanted to tap out and take a week off from life. My family and I have been all over the place trying not to let the stress of life get us down, but I know that we have all suffered from a lack of sleep and physical and emotional exhaustion. I could stay in that place and just wallow in the pain and disorganization, but I’d like to take a different approach—I’d like to focus on feeling grateful.
This month started on what should have been an amazing note—we bought our first house and we closed May 1st. Our celebration lasted but a moment though because, on May 2nd, we learned that my otherwise healthy father in law had a heart attack and would require open heart surgery. A quadruple heart bypass later and we were on a plane to go see him while he recovered.
I could have just stayed in the feelings of sadness that this situation called for, but instead, as a family, we tried hard to be grateful for the amazing miracle that occurred.
My father in law was recovering well and we had the ability to take time away from work to visit him and boost his spirits. He is thriving and is regaining his strength, and my husband has started to look at his own mortality through a productive lens which means that he is now focusing on getting in better health himself. As such, I’m also grateful that as a family we can work to live long and healthful lives together.
One week later, my family got on a plane to fly to the middle of the country to celebrate the life of my grandmother who would be laid to rest next to my grandfather in the national cemetery. My extended family was also able to be together to mourn not just her loss, but the loss of my aunt as well, who passed away a few days before from a battle with breast cancer.
As we all cried together, we could have stayed in that space of grief and sadness. Instead, we expressed gratitude for the amazing moments that my aunt and grandmother shared with all of us, and we all reveled in the fond memories of our time with each of them. I am grateful that my family could traverse the country to be together in sickness and in health to mourn and celebrate life.
And this weekend, I am even more grateful for the opportunity to close out this month on a great note as I stand beside my best friend on the day she marries her best friend. I am grateful that once again, family and friends can come together in celebration to see two great people pledge their love for one another.
Instead of focusing on how stressed and tired I am or how drained I feel from the emotional roller coaster I just exited, I am choosing to focus on the love, the joy, and the sense of connection I feel in these often difficult moments.
To focus on gratitude means you are choosing to focus on the positive side of things. This is how one cultivates happiness. I encourage readers to find something every day to be grateful for because this has the power to transform your perspective.
And likewise, I encourage everyone to express their gratitude towards others. Everyone loves hearing how they have positively influenced another, so share your genuine feelings of appreciation with those around you to pay it forward. I certainly told my husband and children how grateful I am to share even a difficult month with them, and even this simple gesture has a way of positively infecting others.
So the next time you find yourself cursing your circumstances, remember that there is always a little room for a silver lining.