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November 17, 2010

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Always grateful. Not looking forward to that trial that will be harder and tempt me to be bitter.

So grateful. Trying to learn from loss, adversity, and challenges does bring me personal growth for which I am grateful. Some lessons I wouldn't have learned any other way because I certainly wouldn't choose the pain and price it took for the growth. Still, I'm truly grateful.

Great post! My children's elementary school teaches a different version of this: "You get what you get, and you don't get upset!" This puts the saying in a slightly different context. When others are helping you (teacher, parents, friends, spouse), accept the assistance with gratitude, rather than complaining about the gift's imperfection

This is different than confronting the challenges of God's "gifts," or fate, or random chance, for which it can be difficult to experience gratitude. Perhaps it is enough to find acceptance and then move on. I am not grateful for my various challenges, but I am grateful for the wisdom I hope I attain from grappling with them, and I am grateful for the friends who help me along the way.

My personal insight on gratitude is that if I am not grateful for what I have NOW, then I have missed the experience of it. Being grateful enables me to live more fully in the moment. I don't want loss to be what opens my eyes. I don't want to appreciate what is good only after it is gone. If I don't have a sufficient sense of gratitude, then I will miss experiencing my blessings while I still have them.

A really minor example is small boys who knock me over in their enthusiasm to hug me or who cover my face with wet kisses. I can be irritated by the jarring and the germs, or I can bask in the attention, knowing that someday I will really, really miss the physical affection of my young sons.

Thanks for the reminder of how hard it can in fact be to be grateful. Sometimes I think we don't give ourselves enough permission to NOT be grateful. I should be grateful for everything in my life...I am indeed blessed in so many ways. But I also need to give myself permission to feel slighted, or cheated, or denied some rightfully earned achievement. To wallow for a bit. To truly and authentically experience all of life’s emotions.

The real gift for me is figuring out how to come out from the pool of self-pity, how to energize myself to re-envision my next steps. That takes love and faith, I know. Love for myself and faith in myself, but also love and faith from others. It's a journey I cannot take on my own. And that is where the gratitude often resurfaces. In the small gestures or kind words from others that allow me to find my way again, or even to hold my hand--literally or symbolically--as I stumble, lost in darkness for awhile.

I really love your statement: "We need to ackowledge the loss...(experience it)... for a time. But then we choose".

The other day I was visiting with a friend who was feeling very down, acting upset, negative. He explained he'd had a lot of disappointments that week.

I wondered what it would feel like to focus on the disappointments in my life (there are disappointments in all our lives). As soon as I made the decision and changed my focus I was shocked by the way I felt. Life felt sad and dark and overwhelming. It was an immediate fall from Grace. I felt removed from Deity. I stayed in that desolate place until the next day, when I realized that if I could make the choice to focus on the disappointments, I could also make the opposite choice and focus on all the good in my life, once again. Like two hand rails on the stairs, I could choose which to hang on to.

This experience helped me see why God says we should give thanks in all things, it is for our sake. Feeling gratitude brings us to a place of grace, where the difficulties and disappointments still exist, but somehow things don't seem so overwhelming.

Wow. I love all of these thoughts. So beautiful and so helpful. I'm grateful for your blog, Whitney!

When someone tells me to be grateful, particularly when I am feeling a major dearth in my life, I seriously want to smack them. It's not as easy as just "counting your blessings" and then feeling better. You can count every single blessing you have and in the end, say, "Wow, but I still want more." I'm not sure anything is wrong with that. Wanting more is not being ungrateful. Anyone with me on that?

I believe that's what this website is about. Most of us who follow Whitney and the other women who post here want more. That's why we are questioning, striving, dreaming.

All of that said, there is wisdom in "coming from a place of abundance." We can still want more while recognizing all that we have.

Janna, I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting more. That's what spurs us to work for it. The gratitude we feel and express helps us not to take what we have for granted, and to remember that we're not "entitled."

Love this post, and Maria's experiment on focus. What a great object lesson!

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.

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