There is No Darkness in Gratitude


Gratitude Creates Optimism

Every year has its challenges and obstacles. Some years the good moments outweigh the bad, sometimes it’s the other way around. If we’re lucky to live a long life, we’ll experience this ebb and flow over and again. This year hasn’t been my favorite. The past few months especially have been difficult. I won’t bore you with the details, but I experienced something that deeply hurt my feelings and left me profoundly sad, hurt, and angry.

Up until this point, I’ve filtered life through Super-Soul-Sunday-watching, Brene-Brown-reading rose colored glasses. So I surprised myself when I started questioning why I’ve spent my life trying so hard and was almost disappointed in myself for feeling bitter and resentful. I’ve succeeded in putting my best foot forward and looking on the bright side to get through the day, but I can feel the darkness lurking under the surface, overshadowing my otherwise happy, abundantly blessed life.

Life isn’t always fair; it’s not the perfect pictures we share on Instagram, or the “everything is great” small talk we have in the hallway at work.  Everyone is dealing with something.  Sometimes that something is what pushes you past your limits.  For me, my very long rope broke, and I couldn’t handle anything else.  When my husband sat me down and told me he was worried that I was losing myself and my natural optimism, I knew I had to work harder at healing. If I allowed myself to continue to feel terrible, I would be taking for granted all my blessings.

Many people these days, for one reason or another, have lost their sense of optimism. But we have to do everything we can to bring it back. We can’t allow one person, or a group of individuals, to turn us jaded and hopeless. If you’re mad, be mad, feel what you’re feeling. If someone hurt you, you have the right to be hurt; If you’re disappointed, feel the disappointment. Take the time you need to heal, just don’t lose hope.

Perhaps I thought I was the exception, but this year I’ve learned first hand that practicing integrity doesn’t isolate you from those who don’t. Even still, it’s worth practicing. My mom (the same wise lady who said this) often tells me, “You can’t feel upsetment if you’re in a state of gratitude. You can’t hold the negative and the positive at the same time.”

Gratitude creates optimism and optimism is the single greatest force for good we have on earth. It’s what propels us as individuals, a nation, and global community to make the world a better place.  The idea of gratitude as a practice requires discipline on a daily, and sometimes minute-to-minute basis. It’s work. It’s work that the success of our world depends on.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let’s consciously hold onto the positive. If you’re going through something that is stealing your joy, remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for, both the big and small things. Let’s make a promise to keep our optimism, even if we have to fight for it, because that’s when we need it the most.

10 Things I'm Extra Grateful for in 2016


We are taking the rest of the week off to spend time with family and friends.  Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  See you on Monday with our regular scheduled content.

What are the big or small things you’re grateful for this year?

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. Beautifully said. And tell your mom I have now added “upsetment” to my vocabulary. Here’s to gratitude, happiness, and optimism.

  2. This post captures my feelings and thoughts exactly today. I lost my mother unexpectedly 4 years ago and, I too, have had a rough year (for many reasons). Your mother’s quotation is perfect. I even copied it down in my journal today, as I try to manage through another Thanksgiving without my best friend, my mother. I thank you for ALL of your inspiration… the fashion and especially the spiritual!

  3. Well said. This post is timely. This has been a very difficult season and it is easy for me to wallow in despair. Regardless, I am determined to keep pressing on while remembering the blessings which come every morning. I am sorry you are going through a rough time. Thank you for sharing these inspiring words.

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