Gratitude During Tough Times

As I write this during the Covid19 “Stay at Home Order” I think about how blessed with resources we are in the USA. Our hardships are minimal in the global scope. There are billions of people globally who do not have access to clean water, a permanent home, basic sanitation, enough food to feed their families, lack medical care and live with regime lockdowns not associated with health, etc.

When my husband and I get impatient, have to wear a mask, wait in line, not find all the items we wanted, are paying more and want ‘OUR’ world to be returned right now, we look at each other and remember how blessed we are. We are grateful we have our health and each other. We have a home that protects us and we can check in via phone or video with those we love and care about. These are not normal times but my husband and I are united in doing our part to keep everyone safe and checked in on.

We have found just shifting our focus from what we can’t do and what events we cannot engage in (antiquing, physically working with my clients, attending local events, visiting family in person, traveling – our April Europe ‘bucket list’ trip was canceled, and the dozens of other things) and focus on what we can control and what we are grateful for, we find joy every day. We have gotten a number of projects done around our home that had been sidelined because we were too busy working and being distracted by other things. We have consciously chosen to spend QUALITY time with each other instead of sniping at each other. We have taken on the opportunity to shop for 5 at risk families and individuals so they get the items they need, right away and with a compassionate smile. One of the biggest blessings I had was to be able to spend an unusual amount of quality time with my African Grey parrot of 18 years who just passed away in my arms gently this past Monday from adrenal heart failure. Had I been working at my usual pace prior to Covid19 this would not have been the case (if you have a companion animal you love, you know how impactful this is).

I find that when I approach any trying situation with the attitude of gratitude and when I focus on how blessed I really am, I let go of the petty, impatient emotions and negative musings. To help improve my odds, I have put myself on a media diet and I try to ‘do good’ where I can in the world. I do not demand that my world be returned to me. I have no control over that however, I can control my attitude and emotions, increase my gratitude and help others. In a year, I will be more resilient, better educated and will look back on this time as the time I focused on getting more education, decreased my need for material possessions, deepened my relationship with my family and created a positive legacy. My mantra is “I control what I can and positively touch others with my actions, deeds and empathy”. When things seem overwhelming, perhaps acknowledging the good that is present and the things you do have (in the way of emotional support or physical resources) will help ease this time for you. I know in Michigan, we have a no cost mental help line you can call. This resource may also be available in your area.

As a country, family or single person, we never wanted a Covid19 but we can choose take this pause to hit ‘reset’ in our lives and focus on what is important and what has substance and let the rest go. I am grateful for all the 1st responders and the medical people who put everyone else before themselves every day. Whenever I am shopping for myself or others, I pause to thank each employee I see. “ Thank you for working today.” MOST of them do not hear this – they only see the impatient faces, unhappy that they had to wait, spend more money, wear a face mask or could not find beef that particular day.

Remember, this too shall pass but how you treat others leaves a lasting mark on their self-perceptions and their perception of you. Gratitude… pass it on.