In the book, Learning to Dance in the Rain, the Power of Gratitude, Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher say that a wise person once observed, “Circumstances don’t determine character – they reveal it.” Anderson and Gallagher indicate that who we are as people is revealed most clearly during times of struggle, hardship, pain, and suffering. They believe it is easy to be a good person when things are going great. However, when things are hard, that’s when you find out what you’re made of.
They think that nowhere is this more true than with regard to gratitude. Then they ask the following questions:
Are you grateful when the storm clouds gather, and it rains on your parade?
Can you find gratitude in your heart when you don’t get what you want?
Do you feel grateful when illness strikes?
Do you feel grateful when loved ones don’t show up for you?
Are you grateful when jobs and careers disappoint?
Are you grateful when nothing seems to be going your way?
They believe that gratitude is not a fair weather virtue. True gratitude means appreciating your life no matter what the storms may bring. Is simply being alive gift enough for you to feel grateful?
They think that most people have a hard time being thankful when things aren’t going well. They say that when caught up in the present moment, most of us simply can’t see that things are alright. They talk about accepting going through a rough time, and recognizing that this is normal. Then they suggest asking yourself the following questions:
Could things be worse?
Are there bad things that could have happened, but didn’t?
Are there other people who are suffering from worse calamities than yours? Are you glad that the mess you’re in isn’t worse?
If you answer yes, then there is something to be grateful for. It may be only a small step, but it is a start toward gratitude. They also say that making a list of terrible things that didn’t happen can be helpful. This is because no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. You can start finding gratitude for what might have happened, but didn’t. You may not have gratitude for everything, but you can be thankful for something.