With so much hurt, pain, and violence permeating the world, it’s probably difficult to find things for which we can be thankful. How can we gather around a table and express gratitude when innocent people are murdered at movie theaters and unarmed teenagers are shot and killed by the very people who swore to protect them? It’s easy to feel hopeless, helpless, and just plain down and out. It takes work to find something, anything worth holding on to, worth appreciating, worth giving thanks…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, right?
So, on this Thanksgiving Eve of 2015, let’s take a moment to reminisce and reflect on the positive and negative experiences of the year. Maybe you passed a test, bought a car, or got accepted into your top choice school. Or perhaps you and your boyfriend broke up, your parent’s divorced, or you were kicked out of the house for living in your truth. These moments, these good times and bad times, these experiences that may build us and break us are essential because they shape who we are and who we will become.
This isn’t to say you should ignore how you feel when tragedies occur or that you should smile through your pain, but I encourage you to try, really try to lean in to these moments. Once you accept what happened, you can begin the healing process and look for some glimmer of hope, peace, love, or meaning, no matter how big or small. When we embrace both the good and the not so good, there are things we can come to appreciate, lessons we can learn, and room for growth—and isn’t that reason enough to be grateful for all life throws your way?