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As we continue to enter the week of Thanksgiving, I am feeling so called to focus on gratitude. Especially considering the last few days of my life have been truly epic.
If it’s true that one of the only things we can control is the meaning that we give the events of our lives, then we are responsible for how we meet life. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control and choose to either react or respond. When we come from a place of gratitude, even for the hardship in life, we empower ourselves to make the best of it.
And frankly, that is all any of us can really do. We can choose to make the best of it. We can’t control what hand we were dealt in life. We can’t control the government, or the economy or even those that we are in relationships with. But we can indeed control what we bring to those circumstances.
Something that I’ve seen over and over again is that we tend to think – I tend to think – that life “should” be easy. But it’s not. M. Scott Peck reminds us in his GENIUS book “The Road Less Traveled” that “life is difficult. And when we accept that life is difficult, it ceases to be difficult.”
Let’s just say for the sake of this blog that we are going to assume that life is difficult. There are setbacks. There are trials. Things aren’t always going to go our way. We make mistakes. We mess up. We don’t get it right. We experience failure. We experience lack. We experience rejection and doubt and worry and fear. Not everyone is going to accept us. Not everyone is going to like us. Not everyone is going to agree with us.
But what of it? What if we just assumed, acknowledged and recognized that these are all a natural part of the human experience? And if that were the case, wouldn’t our time be so much better spent in acceptance of this rather than denial or some arrogant assumption that we shouldn’t be prone to Life as it is? Notice, I didn’t say TOLERATE… I said ACCEPT. We must first accept things before we can change them. We must first accept there is a problem, or an addiction, or a shortcoming or a mistake before we can change it. Toleration of something isn’t’ what I’m talking about. Things need to change, but we can’t change what we can’t accept.
And acceptance in all of this, especially since we know that there will be things in life that will be difficult to accept. Wouldn’t it be so much better to bring a grateful attitude to the opportunity to transform our world and our lives? If we can accept that life is difficult, then we’ve gotten over a great big inner hurdle where a part of us thinks otherwise. Then, instead of bringing entitlement, arrogance, denial or victimhood to life, we can bring gratitude for the opportunity to change and transform.
Marianne Williamson once told me that we cannot transform something if we are judging it. If we judge life as too difficult, too hard, too annoying, too (fill in the blank), then we have no energy to transform it.
Change is difficult. Life is difficult. But what of it? This is how it has been since the beginning of time. And every generation gets easier and easier to live. So, what inevitable difficulties can you be grateful for today? I’m curious?
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