The other day I was talking with a client about gratitude. We went through an exercise designed to promote thinking about what she was grateful for. She expressed how she typically resisted gratitude practices because she didn’t like to search for things to be grateful for – she prefers to be in a place where she allows gratitude to flow freely into her life.
It was an interesting way to think about gratitude, a way that I had not thought about. When I was working through my fertility struggle, gratitude was something I felt I had to search for. I had been stuck for so long in my infertility hole that there was no room for gratitude to find me.
It wasn’t until I progressed further on my healing path that gratitude could enter my thoughts. I recall thinking, “Could I be grateful for my struggle, for my fertility struggle? Could I say that? Could I believe that? Could I truly feel that way?”
The short answer was YES! The long answer for me, was YES, BUT. Would answering Yes, But mean that I gave up? That I would be faking it? That I would feel scared? That I would even understand what gratitude even meant or felt like?
It was a slow progression and it started with a little “fake it till you make it” attitude, but over time I was able to feel the gratitude for my struggles, which I’ve come to see as lessons.
I believe that life is not meant to be perfect. Nothing is. Each and every one of us experiences struggles in life that can teach us lessons. These lessons can be varying degrees and sometimes we learn them quickly and sometimes it can take us a long time. Either way, none of us are immune to them.
Today I can honestly say I am grateful for the struggles in my life. Some of the things I’ve learned from my fertility struggles are:
- I am not the only one that experiences struggles
- There are lessons in each struggle
- Awareness is the first step, but a powerful one
- Compassion for self and others
- Gratitude for what I have
I am not saying that I no longer experience struggles or no longer have lessons to learn, but now I have discovered the tools that help me move through the struggles and help guide me back to a place of peace. For me, it has been moving through the stages of awareness, acceptance, release and gratitude. Here are just a few of my gratitude practices that you may find helpful:
- Writing a gratitude journal
- Meditating on what you are grateful for
- Sending random texts/placing phone calls to people you love, letting them know you’re thinking of them and appreciate them
- Taking deep breaths and being present to the moment
I now see that I am in a place where I can allow gratitude to flow into my life.
“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” Jim Rohn