Today started out great for me in a strange way. I ended up having an unexpected pleasant conversation with a complete stranger on the phone, specifically a customer sales representative who was managing a query regarding my bill. He ended up opening a bit about his life and we ended up having a lengthy conversation regarding life, traveling, how things always fall into place no matter how much you are struggling at the time. All this with a complete stranger who I have never met and whose name I don’t even know. And the conversation left me feeling very grateful that I continually meet people who just prove that people are good, kind and wonderful. The world is made up of beautiful people and that is something I’m grateful for every day.
There are many things and people within our lives that we can always be grateful for. Although this list will not even scratch the surface of everything you should be thankful for, I’ll share with you some unlikely things that you should be grateful about.
Every experience you have ever had – both negative and positive. The conversation with the customer server rep became personal once he had expressed how he had moved to South America to be with the love of his life at the time, and how the relationship didn’t work out at all and how everything went downhill after just three months. He was extremely heartbroken about it at the time, but that breakup was 3 years ago, and time heals all wounds. He had mentioned he was thankful for the experience, even if it ended badly because he has amazing memories from there that helped shape him. He was able to learn a new language that he loves and he’s now free to meet a woman who truly values and appreciates him. He’s also open to visiting South America again to create new memories.
All your experiences in life have shaped you, no matter how painful these experiences were at the time. When you are going through pain, it’s tough to be thankful for the experience but once you get space and time from the situation, you will look back and be grateful for that situation because I’m sure it taught you something about life. Take time today to think about the good and bad experiences in your life and how much you have grown and become the person you are today. No matter how many regrets, pain, mistakes you made or experienced, there is a purpose in all these experiences. Even the mundane boring experiences you have had, these experiences are the ones that have built you up and made you into who you are.
The ability to change your perspective. Imagine if your personal beliefs never changed from when you were much younger. Imagine a world in which you stayed the same, had the same opinions, viewed the world in the same way. You would probably feel pretty disappointed at the fact that you never felt wrong about something. Part of personal growth within yourself is letting go of your ego and admitting that you are wrong or being open to different ways of viewing the world. Part of the reason I love traveling is because my personal beliefs are challenged every day. I encounter people with different ideas and views in the world which help give context to my beliefs. Sometimes my personal beliefs are strengthened, and other times they become a bit more flexible and open, or I adopt a new mindset entirely. Being able to change your views on the world and yourself allows you to grow and be open to new opportunities and people that you cross paths with. Be grateful that your perspective is able to change and be different, even if it feels difficult in the moment.
That today is a new beginning. Sure, maybe yesterday was terrible. Maybe this week has been horrible and maybe this whole year has been downright disappointing. That’s okay because today is a new beginning and an opportunity to make a change. That change doesn’t have to be big but can be small. Today you have the opportunity to start a new hobby, work on a project, be a better worker at your job, smile and laugh more. Today you have the opportunity to start ditching bad habits. Today you have the opportunity to tell your wife you love her or tell your children how proud you are of them. You can start over from now. You can start taking steps to get your life in the direction you want it to go.
The challenges you are facing right now. I’m not going to deny that challenge can feel not so great at times. Having a challenge in your career or personal life can be downright frustrating, annoying and simply unpleasant. But a challenge also gives you the opportunity to grow and learn. Instead of focusing on just appreciating the outcome, focus on being grateful for the challenge and the unique opportunity it gives you to become a better person.
Needing to wait for something to happen. I’ve always struggled with patience and I have a very difficult time waiting for something to happen. Waiting, for me, is usually a time filled with anxiety, longing and sometimes frustration. However, it’s good to be grateful that you have to wait. Waiting allows you to take a mental break and process what is happening during the day. There are even times where I’m waiting for a green light, and I just take a moment to relax and be out of my head. Patience allows you to digest what is happening and appreciate the very thing you are waiting for whether that is starting school, waiting to see your loved one again or an exciting trip. The ability to wait may not always feel pleasant but allows us to truly enjoy what life has to offer and gives our body the time to relax.
The fact that you can pay your bills. There are many things we take for granted and one of these is the fact that we have bills and can actually pay them. I don’t enjoy paying my rent every month but I’m grateful that I have the ability to make ends meet. Even when you are struggling and can’t make ends meet this month, you likely have some fall back plan that you can be grateful you have. Yes, paying bills isn’t pleasant for anyone but it’s great to remember that you have the capability to take care of yourself and make sure that your basic needs are met.
Your routines and other familiar things. You probably have gotten used to the weekly trek to the store, seeing your family every day and the fact that your best friend is always eager to see you every weekend. When I first moved to Australia, I realized how many of these familiar things I took for granted. Suddenly I had to walk 15 minutes one way to go to the store rather than look forward to an easy 5 minute drive. My friends from back home were not always around to talk to me. I could only catch them during the morning or very early afternoon due to the time difference. All the people I became used to seeing regularly, were people I could now only see once during the year maximum. Although these routines may seem comfortable and familiar, this routine is something you should never take for granted. Appreciate and love every moment with your loved ones. How different would your life be if you didn’t have those routines?
There is so much to be grateful and the great news is that you don’t have to look hard to find something to be grateful. Embrace whatever happens because regardless of how busy, overloaded or whatever challenge you are facing right now, this experience will shape you in ways you cannot imagine.