Gratitude Challenge: Feeling Thankful For Things I Don’t Like

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gratefulThere’s no doubt about the benefits of a grateful mindset. Setting our intention each day to focus on what we are grateful for, rather than what is missing or lacking, not only lifts our mood but can also help battle feelings of unease, anxiety, and depression over time.

It’s easier to feel grateful when things are going well. It’s also easy to be thankful for the “basic” things that are often taken for granted – health in our family, access to healthy food, education for our kids, a roof over our head, and money to buy things we need and some of the things we want.

What I find harder is finding ways to be grateful for the things that drive me crazy. How can I maintain a feeling of gratitude when there are things that, quite frankly, don’t make me feel very thankful at all? In the spirit of reframing my mindset this month, I’m challenging myself to find gratitude in the things I don’t like. Below are five on my list.

I’m grateful for my messy house.

Man, the state of my house can drive me nuts. No matter how much I try, right now, with four kids and a dog, it’s just a losing battle. But for now, I’m choosing to be thankful for the chaos. My house is full of energy, kids, and all their stuff…and that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok, it’s a blessing.

I’m grateful for hard decisions.

I struggle with decisions…I mean, really struggle. I’m the person making pros and cons lists, asking for advice, making a decision, and then second-guessing that decision. Eventually, I land on a decision and make peace with it. But while I’m struggling, it’s good to remember to feel grateful that I HAVE a choice in the first place. Also, I can feel grateful that most decisions are not irreversible and that many bring opportunities I would never have expected.

I’m grateful for wrinkles.

Ok, maybe it’s not easy to feel thankful for wrinkles. BUT, I can be thankful for the things that caused them! Like lots of laughs, summer sunshine on my face, and all the experiences I’ve had as I’ve gotten older.

I’m grateful for my struggles.

Nobody wants bad things to happen or to go through the pain of personal struggle or the struggles of their children. But, we can feel gratitude for the strength we gain when we make it to the other side and the empathy we learn from others. I hope that my own experiences have made me a better mother, friend, and helper in our community.

I’m grateful for having too much on my plate.

Life is just BUSY right now. I’m grateful for all the opportunities to feel involved again and thankful that there are things I can choose to cut out of our schedule if we need to. I’m grateful for the space we’ve had to take a break and to really question what takes priority for our family. Feeling overwhelmed means that it’s time to find ways to cut back. 

What are some not-so-great things that you can find to be grateful for? How can you change your mindset to invite more gratitude into your day?

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Kate S. is a mom at home in Fairfield with her 4 kids (2 girls and 2 boys) and one puppy. Kate's sister introduced her to Chris, whom she married in 2010. They welcomed their first daughter in 2012, a son in 2014, another daughter in 2016, another boy in 2018, and finally a puppy in 2021. Kate and Chris's parenting motto would probably be, "Just take them with you." As a family, they continue to enjoy activities like skiing, kayaking, and hiking by taking turns to teach the older kids or strapping babies into backpacks. Kate can be found out and about exploring with her kids, volunteering at their schools, or laughing with other moms at the beautiful chaos of life with children.

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