This past year I was in a job that nearly killed me. Every morning I dreaded going into work. The weekends were no better; I spent Saturday and Sunday filled with loathing for what the new week would bring. Nothing in my life was going the way it was supposed to. I had two master’s degrees; life was not supposed to be this hard, I thought.
I had lost hope. I could not foresee myself ever getting out of my job and I thought I would be trapped for life, doomed to be miserable. Finally, after eleven painful months, I quit. Since then my life has completely turned around and I am doing something I absolutely love! Although I would never want to relive what I went through, I find that I am now able to be grateful in even the worst of situations.
You may be going through something similar. Here are some ways to be grateful when there is nothing to be grateful for.
- Your situation is temporary. All things come to an end, even really bad things. While in the middle of a really difficult time, be grateful that this will come to an end even if you cannot see the end in the foreseeable future.
- When things do not go according to plan, you can make a new plan. Few things in life are easy, and nothing goes as planned. However, difficult circumstances give us the opportunity to make a new plan for our lives. Surprisingly my difficult time at work led me to a new path, a path that I enjoy a thousand times more and am actually happy about. Difficult situations give us the ability to find, do, or make our circumstances better. For example, going through an unexpected pregnancy may never be what you had planned for your life; however, after your child is born, you may realize that you got something better than you ever expected.
- Others have been though similar things. Realizing that you are not alone is truly something to be grateful for. Others have been through hard times too and often you can go to them for advice, help, and wisdom. When you have a friend to talk to it can make all the difference. Surround yourself with people who understand. In turn, you will be grateful for their presence in your life.
- Be grateful for the small things. Oftentimes, I would have to remind myself of all the things in my life that were good—even if they were really, really small. Though I hated going to work, I had a reliable car that could get me home. I had enough to eat, and I had hot, running water. I also had a comfortable place to live and cable TV! Make a list, no matter how short, of all that is good. Think about that list whenever you start to feel overwhelmed by your current situation.
- Gratitude for the person you have become.