Choosing Gratitude

The most read blog post of the year was also the saddest blog post I've ever written. It was also on of the least digitally "acknowledged" blog posts of the year. Not many "likes" or comments on it because there aren't really "I see you" or a "sorry buddy, that sucks" button on social media. But in addition to being the saddest, it was also the blog post that marked the beginning of a quest to choose gratitude in the new and challenging situation I found myself in. 

Now, five months later, I can confirm that my intention to choose gratitude was in fact one of the only things that I got to choose in days the followed. That blog post wasn't the low point of the year, that was still to come. That blog post wasn't the saddest that I was, that happened later. But that blog post was in fact the moment that I acknowledge something that I now know is not unique to me but is applicable to everyone. 

The only thing that you control in this life is how you choose to react to the changing circumstances that come your way.

That is all. You get to choose what your reaction is going to be and how you carry yourself going forward. I have found that truth to be very comforting in these wild times that life has tossed my direction this year. Comforting to know that as I watched thing after thing change, I could look at each one and take a moment to choose how I would react. And knowing that that was my choice and my choice alone to make gave me a little bit of encouragement along the way. 

But making the choice to choose to gratitude is not easy. There will always be people willing to listen to your woes in exchange for you doing the same for them. Pity parties are big business. Your friends and family will react how you show them to react in those moments. If you wanted to gripe and complain and vent, they'll likely let you. But if you share that things are hard but you need their help to choose wisely your reaction, you'll find they will be there and thrilled to help you do that as well. 

It all starts with you and it all starts with you committing to choosing gratitude. Like anything that is the opposite of what we naturally would prefer to do, it takes effort and it takes practice. But when you've strengthen your personal resolve to be a well tuned muscle, you can face life head on with a little more swagger than anyone would expect you to have. 

So today on Thanksgiving, a day we are all reminded of the virtues of thankfulness and gratitude, take a moment to choose gratitude for the rest of what the year ahead will bring. No matter what that might be, you are in control and can make a mark on the next 12 months by choosing to choose gratitude.