How To Find Gratitude When Faced With Obstacles
Every year around Thanksgiving we are asked to be introspective and reflect upon what we are thankful for. Maybe you landed your dream job, or moved into a beautiful new home. It’s easy to look back on all the good things that have happened in your life and be thankful. But the difficult things? The breakup that left you heartbroken, the promotion that you didn't get. It's hard to acknowledge when we've had setbacks; they don't make very interesting Facebook or Instagram feeds. However, the unpleasant things that happen to us shouldn’t be swept under the rug.When life is making it difficult to get out of bed and face the day, just remember one thing: you are the author of your own life. Each and every one of us has the ability to look at a situation as either positive or negative. As Eckart Tolle points out in his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it."
Our thoughts are one of the most powerful things in the universe, and they are the novelists of what we manifest and create in our lives. We can write the contents our lives as fairy tales or as horror novels, it’s whatever we choose. You can create the circumstances you want.
Easier said than done, right? Yes, it’s extremely difficult to 'see the silver lining' when problems are mounting. But the secret is recognizing that there is a difference between problems and challenges. What's the difference? A problem is a situation that is regarded as unwelcome. Problems do not have the ability to remain in your life unless you allow it. As with anything that's unwanted in your life, you can let it go. Tolle also points out that, “In order for a problem to exist you need time and repetitive mind activity. If danger arises in the present moment, there may be emotion, there may even be pain, but that’s a challenge, not a problem.” Problems can live a long shelf life if you keep stirring them up in your mind. Problems are only problems if they are perceived that way.
Knowing the difference between a problem and a challenge can help you along as you write the chapters in your life. Challenges are like a 'call to battle' or any type of undertaking that can be overcome with strength of character. Challenges can also be opportunities. This Thanksgiving, when you reflect upon the past year, ask yourself if a situation you once perceived as negative can now be viewed as positive. What gratitude can you pull out of past problems and/or challenges?