Having Gratitude does not mean I am in a state of everything is great. Rather, for me it means I am in a state AND I am still grateful!
For many of us we believe in order to live a life in gratitude all things must be in order; all things must make us feel happy. I happy to report it isn't necessarily true. I have found some of my most grateful moments within times of angst and bewilderment. In those times I confess to willing myself to see something positive. To pay attention to one moment in which I can hang my proverbial gratitude hat on. It's not always easy and its not always satisfying.
When I feel done upon or the victim of something I wish not to participate in, I can linger in those feelings for quite some time. Those feelings can often crescendo into overpowering feelings not valuable in helping anyone. But I know this space the best. I know how to be frustrated, angry and feeling done upon. I know how it plays out. It is the way I grew up and was indoctrinated into. No one was really saying "Oh look at the bright side" and meaning it. As a matter of fact anyone who said those words were ostracized from the group at hand. No one wants a Polly-Anna around when you want to linger in the awfulness of it all. My thoughts always went to: They must not really understand how bad this (whatever this is) is.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered the importance of gratitude in any situation. It took me awhile. I always believed one cancelled out the other. You can't be hopeful in a hopeless situation. Nothing good ever comes from bad and so on. However, over the years I have learned you can feel and have both. To find moments of gratitude in a flurry of despair is not counterintuitive; it is a way to stay afloat. Gratitude is a blanket over what brings cold and warms it all up. Both uncomfortable feelings and gratitude can co-exist. I learned once I do shift into a gratitude state of mind, all things look different. No matter what is going on. All things are a little more manageable.
The nurse helping my loved one who is agonizing pain is now a blessing and an Angel. The stranger who smiles and offers for me to go ahead in the line because I look frazzled, is now my best friend. But...I need to pay attention and want to see it. Unfortunately my old ways come back sometimes and I can only see what isn't working.
The payoff of finding gratitude keeps me searching through all I experience; good, bad or awful. Because I know you can have both. I want both.