The Power of Feeling Grateful 

When you are going through a difficult time in your life, full of negative emotions and stress, the last thing that you would feel is to be thankful and grateful, and yet that is the perfect time to seek for gratitude as it is the path needed to overcome those challenges and difficulties.  It is in our nature as human beings to thrive and look for the negative and bad aspects rather than the positive and good in any event.  I only started understanding the power of gratitude whilst going through the journey of my recovery after my operation.

My Introduction to Feeling Grateful  

In the second week of my stay in hospital, the nurse came every afternoon to help me get out of bed, and wheel me to the lounge area which had a stunning view of Singapore (we were located on the 12th floor). Not that I noticed the view at that time, I was too busy feeling very sorry for myself, in pain and extremely uncomfortable, trying to sit in the wheelchair.  There were a few of us at a time in the lounge, all being wheeled around, not that we talked to each other, as no one really was in a sociable mood! One afternoon, I happened to be next to an elderly lady (Gladys) who was on a drip, in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank holder; she must have been at least in her late seventies. Contrary to the others, she was quite a chatty person and I remembered having to make a huge effort not to be rude and make conversation:

Gladys: “I see you are battling to sit upright, did you do a spine operation?”

Me:     “Yes, scoliosis operation. Why are you here?”

Gladys: “I had a stroke, weak heart. They say that it is a miracle I survived! At my age, I guess every day is a bonus! How about you?”

Me:     “Not sure what you mean, I had a grueling operation which lasted 12 hours! I am in pain and just trying to live one day to the next, I guess”

Gladys: “But you are walking, sitting… it can only get better from here. It is obvious your operation went well! Grueling or not! Isn’t that a good sign to be grateful for?”

Me:     “I guess so…”

Gladys: “My doctor told me today that I am on borrowed time and that at any moment my heart can give.”

Suddenly I felt bad for complaining and feeling sorry for myself.  I kept quiet as I did not know what to say to her.

Gladys: “I told the doctor that it is ok. I have no regrets and am amazed that I have lived long enough to see my children, grandchildren, even great-grandchildren. Few of us manage to get to that stage, right? Witnessed a World War, learn to use a cell phone, to send emails and even skype! How amazing is that? No, I have a lot to be grateful for.”

Me: “I am pleased to see that you have it all figured out. I am not sure if I would have taken it the same way you do”

Gladys: “I hope you do! No use feeling sorry for yourself, it will not change anything, live your life and enjoy every minute, my biggest fear has always been to be close to death and realizing in a panicky moment that there were still so many things that I could have done but did not! I have to go now, but hopefully, we shall carry on this conversation tomorrow. Stay here for a few minutes longer and you will see the most stunning sunset. Take your time and enjoy!”

She gave me a smile before being wheeled out of the room. I looked outside and for the first time, I noticed the sun setting and the light it cast over the city was amazing! It was indeed an incredible sight! When I came back to my room, I felt at peace and content, and suddenly it dawned down on me that this was the feeling of gratitude that Gladys was referring to.  Before falling asleep that night, I made a mental note of being in the lounge at the same time as my new friend the next day as I was eager to carry on our conversation. The next day, I went back to the lounge but waited for quite a long time, but she did not come.  I asked the nurse about her and was told that she, unfortunately, passed away peacefully in her sleep the night before. I was so distraught by the news! Although I only met her for a short time, my conversation with her made such an impact on me and I felt that I just lost an old friend. For the rest of my stay in the hospital, I made a special effort to be in that lounge at the same time every day to watch the sunset, as it was also my way of connecting with my lost friend.  On my last day at the hospital, standing in the lounge in front of the beautiful view, I silently made a solemn vow that I will welcome the feeling of gratitude, and make it become part of my everyday life.  Thank You, Gladys!

The Road to Feeling Grateful  

For me, Gratitude starts with appreciating the little things in life that we take for granted:

  • Being able to breathe
  • Being alive
  • Being able to FEEL emotions whether positive or negative
  • Being with family or close friends
  • Being loved and appreciated
  • Being able to walk
  • Being able to see beautiful sceneries and colours

The world is currently going through difficult times, and we are all feeling a sense of being overwhelmed by the uncertainty that lies ahead. No wealth, money or power will be able to help us through this dark time, however, if we stay positive during this time and nurture the Feeling of Gratitude, it will help us to stay positive and find the good within the bad.

The feeling of Gratitude comes straight from your heart, listen to it

Photo by ABDULLA M on Unsplash

The Feeling Grateful List 

Those that have been following this blog would know that I am a big fan of writing it all down and this chapter is no different! Start your Gratitude list with ten different things, and as time goes by and you become familiar with your ten items, and see them regularly and repeat them over and over again, it will become easier to add items on your list as your sense of Gratitude becomes stronger. I will share with you my first ten items on my Gratitude List when I started:

  • To be able to breathe and enjoy the fresh air every day
  • Being able to access plenty of water to drink
  • Food on the table every day
  • Being surrounded by loving family
  • Watching my children grow
  • Caring for friends
  • The colour of leaves and flowers in all seasons
  • A beautiful home
  • My first steaming cup of tea in the morning
  • Singing of the birds in trees first thing in the morning

Then practice, practice and more practice to remember them at all times until these items become second nature to you.

Remember that to get through the dark times will depend on how much you value your self-worth rather than your net worth

See you soon for another chapter of