Gratitude is one of the fundamental principles of spiritual practice. But while it’s easy to be grateful for good things, what about bad ones? Many spiritual books and gurus tell us that we should be grateful even for the hurtful things in life. Many psychoanalysts and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practitioners also strongly advocate the benefits of maintaining a positive attitude and outlook when undergoing painful situations.
Have you ever noticed that everything happens for a reason? Very often negative events bring something really positive into our lives. I’ll give you a couple of examples from my personal life-journey. At one point my job application was refused because the level of my English didn’t satisfy my potential employer. I had to survive without an income for eight months and really struggled to make ends meet. That was a tough time, but being rejected actually incentivized me into learning English properly. 8 years later I moved to London, and succeeded in gaining postgraduate degrees from two top UK universities and graduated from a first class university in the United States. The entire curriculum was, of course, in English. Looking back at my experiences, I am grateful to the person who initially binned my application, an experience which drove me to improve myself.
There are plenty of examples of why we should be grateful for sad events in our lives. I’m pretty sure each of you have experienced something similar in the past, and you’ll know that the most painful time is the period immediately after the event. It is very important to be consciously present at this moment in time, and interpret the things that are happening to you in the right way. Being depressed is extremely counter-productive, and negativity merely attracts more negativity.
Here are few examples of ways in which we should try to react, in order to maintain our serenity, reflect gratitude and radiate positivity:
Stay ridiculously positive
Imagine that the person you’re in love with suddenly changes. Those sweet jokes, positive vibes, generosity, compassion, and appreciation are gone for no apparent reason. Be grateful! He or she has revealed their true self. Don’t dwell on the past, and remember that it was all a sham. Just move on: There’s no need to figure out what happened. Just be grateful to this person for emptying space in your life for someone truly amazing.
Your lover finishes the relationship, and there’s that awful feeling of emptiness…. Actually, you know what? Be grateful again! One who does not appreciate your company does not deserve to be next to you. Let them go. Probably your real friend, true love or partner is waiting for you around the corner, but doesn’t have the space to walk into your life.
Your business fails… Be grateful! Most likely, it was not the right thing for you, or not the right time. In any case, you are free to embark on new ventures. Every new start brings new opportunities, new inspirations, and new people into your life. Don’t miss these opportunities.
You lose money… Be grateful that someone took it. First of all, you made somebody’s life a bit better. Accept it as karmic: All good deeds will definitely pay off. Secondly, view the financial loss as a tax on your future happiness, health and wellbeing.
You break your leg… That’s shitty, but I would still encourage you to be grateful! You won’t be able to run for a while but you will have some free time to accomplish other things that you always wanted. Start learning a new language, read books from your reading list, go to art classes…
You’re treated poorly… Be grateful! Firstly, remember the old adage that what goes around comes around. Your karma will benefit from the experience. Secondly, you’ll be reminded of what you appreciate in those people who treat you properly. And finally, you’ll learn what you shouldn’t do to others.
So my dear friends, what are the three bad things you are grateful for today?