How To Be Grateful In Tough Times

Though the ups and downs, it’s important that we still give thanks. 

As I look back on this year, with Thanksgiving’s arrival just moments away, I confess that 2015 has been a wild ride; I’ve celebrated wonderfully unforgettable moments but have also suffered loss and disappointment. Life has a funny way of doling out surprises — one day is never like another. Some days I feel as though I’m resting atop a beautiful  mountain and others I am sitting at its bottom, the only view uphill.

In those challenging times, in the depth of the valley, I often can’t see the big picture and living in gratitude is an all-but-forgotten priority. But this year, in the wake of various trials, I will try my best to give thanks for what I do have.

I lost both of my grandparents this year and, though I am sad and miss them immensely, I can already find solace in the wonderful times that we shared. I am thankful that they bestowed upon me the importance of helping and loving others. I am thankful for our many trips to the ocean, where we searched for shells to carry home. I am thankful for our afternoon teas and the countless games of dice. They had an impact on my life that will last forever, and I am eternally grateful.

So how can we remain thankful in these tough times? How do we give thanks when it’s easier to complain? It’s a constant challenge, one that I personally have to actively pursue. Being someone who has had health complications for the last ten years, it’s simple for me to look to a darker side. But when I focus on the physical abilities that I do have, my view quickly turns around. It’s important to remember the good, though you may feel like you’re drowning in the bad.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful. I am thankful for the many positive things in my life, but also the tough times, as they shine a light toward all that is bright. So won’t you join me today and celebrate the positive people and things in your life, but also the hard situations, for they build character and an opportunity for hope.

For anyone else experiencing a trying time, remember that you are not alone. Everyone has an untold story.

+This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? I’d love to know! 

Photos by Tina Deleon. Follow Joanna on Instagram.

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