From Grief to Gratitude


Sometimes in life, things are going to happen that you don’t quite care for. People may not live up to your expectations, you may run late for work, your spouse may leave you, a beloved animal could pass, you could sit in wet paint, get into a fight, get mugged, lose your phone, trip walking up the stairs, etc., etc. The list could go on for days (or months or years). The point being, there are several times in your life when things may not be exactly what you want them to be.

Often when something unfavorable happens, we complain about it. We immediately text our friend and make a snarky comment about how long the line is at the store. We use sarcasm to express our strong distaste for a situation. We roll our eyes, huff and puff and make a mere inconvenience out to be something so much more.

I was baking cupcakes and had forgotten to pick up some almond milk. I was all settled in for the night, as I’d already been out earlier running errands. The last thing I wanted to do was make another trip out. I put on my three layers, wrapped my circle scarf around my head and said to my roommate, “Well, I’ve forgotten almond milk so I’m going to run to the market and overpay for some there.” He laughed and I went on my way. I immediately felt guilty. Why was I expressing grief for such a minor mishap? It’s true – the corner market’s milk is significantly more expensive than it is at the chain grocery store, but it was also about seven blocks closer.

Instead of complaining or thinking of the negatives in the situation, I began to focus on the positive. Sure, I had to go out of my way to make a trip to get more milk, but I had a lot to be grateful for. I started rambling a list off.

  • I’m so grateful there’s a corner market a mere block from me.
  • I’m very happy the market carries an array of vegan goods.
  • I’m lucky to live in a city where so much is in walking distance from me.
  • I’m so grateful for my legs, which help me get from point A to point B.
  • I enjoy brisk walks at night because it gives me time to reflect.

I encourage you to adopt this same mentality. Make it into a game. If you get caught in traffic, focus on the positive aspects. You’re very lucky to have a car. Many people don’t have the luxury. Perhaps you should be thankful for the lesson in patience. Maybe you can even take this down time to sit silently and meditate. It’s rare that a situation itself is negative. Your attitude, however, is what deems a circumstance positive or negative. Support The Radical Uprise and feed your PMA by downloading the “From Grief to Gratitude” worksheet. I suggest printing off the document double sided, cutting it in half and folding it to form your own quarter zine workbook!


4 responses »

  1. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing this, although i do fall back into my negative sarcastic ways at times. It really helps me recognize the more important things I have going on in my life 🙂

    • Whatever you choose to focus on, whether it be positive or negative, you will find more of those things to focus upon. Circumstances aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad.” It’s our attitude that causes us view it as a positive or negative experience. There are plenty of speed bumps, but, if we cross over them with grace, and a little PMA, we can conquer anything. (: Thanks for dropping by! xx

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