How I Used Gratitude to Transform My Life in the Midst of Hardship

“Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.”- Kak Sri

You’re struggling to be grateful every day.  Right?

You know you should be grateful. You’ve been told to count your blessings. You’ve been told gratitude will increase your happiness.

But when you’re going through hard times, it’s easy to think, “What’s the point?”

Acquiring an attitude of gratitude is tough. But if you make the effort to practice it every day, in the midst of your hardship, you might find the thing that entirely transforms your life.

Can I tell you my gratitude transformation?

My husband and I were happily married. For three years, we had tried to have a baby and nothing had happened. A second and third opinion confirmed what the first doctor had said. I had acute fibroids and the only thing that could be done was a hysterectomy.

Scary stuff right there.

I cried and cried and cried, day in, day out. I felt empty and heavy hearted.

How was I going to walk among people, especially when the culture is biased against childless women? When there is little tolerance and they say the most ignorant things?

“So you don’t want kids?”

“When are you going to have kids?”

“Aren’t you afraid to raise kids when you’re old?’

“Maybe God didn’t want you to have kids.”

I was shrouded in shame, stigma and secrecy. Seeing pregnant women was a constant reminder of failure- that baby I so wanted but couldn’t have.

Desperately hoping to prove all three doctors wrong, I tried every supplement known to man, and nothing happened.

Well, things turned deadly. The tumors enlarged and started crippling me. I was tired of being sick. Painfully, I opted for a hysterectomy.

The feeling of emptiness was overwhelming. Trying to have a baby was over, and I could only imagine what it would be like to have and hold a newborn.

The doctor said she didn’t know how I had survived that long with such huge tumors.

During my follow-up appointments, I met a lady who had lost her unborn child and was going through hysterectomy because she had uterine cancer.

That made me grateful for what I had gone through. It could have been me with cancer and the loss of a child. Yes, I had lost the chance to have a baby, but everything else was just fine. I had to recognize the benefit of being content the way I was, and be thankful that I was healthy, even though I didn’t think childlessness was fair.

Sometimes losing that which you once held dear is the thing that points you to gratitude.

I learned so much about suffering and loneliness that it changed me in ways that are deep and difficult to explain. I gained empathy for those who endure grief in their own way.

I’m grateful from the time I wake up in the morning until I lie down to sleep.

Lets talk about ways gratitude will transform your life.

1. Gratitude will improve your health.

Gratitude will increase your quality of life. According to psychologists Michael McCullough and Doctor Robert Emmons, those who practice gratitude are more alert and enthusiastic, have less stress and better health.

Emmons states that those who practice gratitude are livelier and happier than those who don’t. Check out his book, Thanks! How the Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

Gratitude made me accept that I wasn’t going to have children. After the acceptance, I became happier and stress-free.  I was also grateful for the good health I had acquired after surgery.

2. Compassion will be your companion.

You will be compelled to be kind to people. Their burdens will become yours too; at their lowest point, you will be able to stand by their side until the storm has passed. You’ll be able to assist them without expecting anything in return.

You will appreciate those you encounter regardless of the differences you have.

Gratitude transformed me from being addicted to myself, and I was able to get out of my pity party and help those in need. I realized there were those with worse pain and problems than I had.

3. Your relationships with other people will improve.

When you practice gratitude, you will be open to love people without creating any barriers, because you’ll understand they have been placed in your life to be loved. You will show them genuine love, the kind you give yourself.

Gratitude gave me the chance to have and love a child through adoption.

4. Gratitude will transform your self-esteem.

You will be able to love and accept yourself the way you are.  You will never base your gratitude on what people think you should do, and you will never change to please them.

I was able to free myself from fear of the backlash I was getting for not having a child. I felt complete and no less than those who had kids.

5. Gratitude will let you sail through the storm.

When the storm hits you, you will be able to sail through because you will have practiced gratitude for small wins or losses. All the storms will be counted as joy because no matter what happens to you, you know they will pass.

I learned that storms are part of life and cannot be avoided, but I chose to be grateful when they came because they made me stronger.

6. Gratitude will compel you to forgive others with joy.

Gratitude compels you to be sincere with yourself and do what is best for your inner peace. Forgiving those who hurt you heals you from the burden of hate that had consumed you. When you forgive people, it’s for your own joy.

Forgiving those who hurt me by saying ignorant things was the best gift I gave myself, and it brought inner peace.

7. Gratitude will help you realize that miracles happen everywhere.

Your eyes will be opened, and no matter the circumstances, there will be miracles in the midst. Seek for the miracle and you will be able to find it.

What I thought was the darkest moment of my life turned into a blessing and opened my eyes to see a child that needed me.

Living a grateful transformed life takes effort.

Remember that being grateful is a choice. Gratitude means acknowledging the goodness of a life worth living. If you can practice being perfect in other areas of your life, you can also practice  gratitude. Make it your daily walk.

The world needs your gratitude.

Surround yourself with gratitude every day.

Let your transformed life give hope to those you encounter.

Shine the transformation light and let the world see it.

Let today be the day you start living a life with a purpose.

What are you grateful for?

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