Looking back at 2017, “satisfaction” is hardly the term many would use to describe their present state.

However, according to psychotherapist and author, Dr. Amy Morin, developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.

She lists 7 scientifically proven benefits of being thankful in her 2014 blog contribution to Forbes.com.

  • Opportunities for more friendships
  • Better physical health
  • Improved psychological health
  • More empathy and less aggression
  • Better sleep
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Increased mental resilience

Can you find reasons to be thankful, even when experiencing more of life’s downs than ups?

I have found, during the darkest hours, that it’s important to remember that I’ve survived bigger challenges in the past…and to be grateful for them. When all hope was lost, when the odds seemed insurmountable, God’s grace showed up in unexpected and amazing ways.

Because failure often teaches us more than success, here is my Un-Thanksgiving List, annotated with why the valleys have been as good as the peaks.

  1. I am thankful for Cancer. My mother died at age 43.  She tried to pour a lifetime of teaching into my head and heart, beginning the day she was diagnosed.  It was an intensive education on love, joy, faith, compassion and hope.  Her lessons, along with my Dad’s steadfast example as a single father, have served me well long after their passing.
  2. I am thankful for Divorce. While mom’s death taught me many things, it also left me “injured” in others.  Those scars didn’t bode well for my first marriage.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone seek a divorce; it’s way too hard on the psyche.  But if you find yourself divorcing, learn everything about yourself in the process.  Lisa and I are so happy in our second marriage because we were successful in healing the hurts exposed in our first relationships.
  3. I am thankful for Failed Business. Lisa and I launched our first business venture in 2007 (a decade ago!), and we drifted along. We were bleeding money and feeling more stressed and exhausted by the day.  Sometimes, you know the only logical step is to stop digging a deeper hole for yourself…but the emotional weight of shuttering a company and laying off employees is too great.  Eventually, we decided to blow up our business and salvage the pieces that allowed us to serve our customers better.

Probably not what you’d expect to read for Thanksgiving Day.  And yet, finding reasons to be grateful during those challenging times makes the good days even sweeter.

We have two sweet granddaughters (one who lives with us part-time), three adult children who are finding peace with “being in their own skin,” an extended family of loved ones, dozens of fantastic friends in business, and hundreds more in our church and local community.

If you recognize yourself among that list of people who bring joy to our lives, know that Lisa and I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

We hope you find 1000 reasons to be grateful today.


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