Being Grateful When Life is Hard

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Gratitude. One of the most powerful positive feelings a human can have. It mostly comes from a deeper level than just superficial happiness, and it is always available to you. However, when life throwing challenges at you, and when things don’t flow the way you wish, it doesn’t feel so available. I know what this feels like as I am dealing with great heartbreak. What to do?


Very recently, my relationship of more than 3 years ended. It was not completely unexpected, but certainly a slap in the face. The last couple of days were very challenging and emotionally crazy as it goes with heartbreak. It feels like nothing can ever be ‘good’. Nothing is ‘fun. And everything ‘hurts’. However, tonight there was one thing that got on my mind: there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for! The fact that my heart is broken, does not mean that the small things cannot be appreciated and loved anymore. I don’t want this big thing, to overshadow all my small sources of happiness. As objectively, the reason why you cannot be happy is because of the story you tell yourself, not because the small things aren’t fun anymore!

Because let’s be honest, there is almost always something to be unhappy for. Last year, my relationship went great, but I had a very challenging internship, and thesis period where I often felt very sad and stressed. I however, always stayed grateful for the small things, for my relationship, and for everything I DID have. It may sound corny, but count your blessings or at least try.

How?

I think there are a few things important when you want to be grateful (even though things don’t go well):

  1. Keep a gratitude journey. Write down the smallest things that made you happy every day.
  2. Stay present. If you are rushing through life while trying to push your sadness away, you ain’t gonna notice all the beautiful moments you CAN enjoy. Small as they may be.
  3. Get out of your mind! In line with no.2, try to give yourself a break from the monkey mind. It won’t stop chattering, but just let it. Your mind will focus on the hard parts in life, as it wants to solve stuff. But that ain’t gonna give you your daily dose of gratitude! How to notice all the beauty around you, when you are trapped in negative thought world?!
  4. Allow your emotions to go and come. You cannot be grateful, if your resist the emotions that come with hard times. You need to feel them, and even try to embrace and appreciate them. Don’t try to push them away, as hard as it can get! It eventually will help finding relief.
  5. Take care of yourself, and try to find what can comfort you right now. This really means being in tune with whatever you are feeling like. Create your own moments of gratitude! Is it a book, a conversation, a film, a cup of tea, a good night’s sleep whatever the heart feels like, get it.

Now I challenge myself, and you to see the things to be grateful for. I know they are there, we just need to see them!

Love,

Natalie xoxox

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