Gratitude has many benefits, yet it can be challenging to sustain. We often notice what is broken, undone, or lacking in our lives. For gratitude to meet its full healing potential, it needs to become more than a word.
When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing. There’s a phrase in the 12-step world: “Fake it until you make it.” We can pretend to be grateful, even if the underlying emotion is something else, like fear, or anger, or anxiety, or depression.
Gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
This message is excerpted from “When we’re grateful we see opportunity and blessings” by Kathy Haueisen from the November 23, 2020, blog of the Women of the ELCA.
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