... and giving thanks are always topical around the holiday season. It’s a perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the multitude of blessings we have in our lives including family, friends, work, health ... 

On the flip side, it is much less intuitive to be grateful for the difficult situations and challenging people in our lives in the same way we are for the good people and good things. (Think about the family member we avoid all year long but who we have to hang out with at Thanksgiving.)

You may be thinking, “Why the heck would I give thanks for this hard situation or that difficult person?” These situations and individuals obviously provoke a negative emotional response of anger, frustration or even pain.

But if we peel back the initial emotionally charged layer, there is typically a virtue hiding right underneath the surface, a lesson that will allow us to elevate beyond the anger or frustration to a place of gratitude. We can be thankful for the difficult situation or person who helps teach us to be be more patient, selfless or kind. These virtues of acceptance, patience, humility and unconditional love help fuel us to be the best version of ourselves. As Tony Robbins says, “Life is not happening to us, it’s happening for us.”  

So the next time we find ourselves in a challenging situation or with a difficult person (maybe at the Thanksgiving dinner table), let’s move quickly past any negative initial gut reaction and on to the deeper understanding of gratitude, realizing the ultimate lesson these situations and individuals and there to teach us.

I know it may be counter-intuitive, but the most rewarding depths of gratitude often come from those moments we would be least likely to offer thanks for at first glance.

It is the lessons born from those challenging situations or people—teaching us, helping us to grow and become better versions of ourselves—which is where true gratitude resides.

May your holiday season be filled with gratitude and opportunities to give thanks, equally in both the easy and challenging moments of your life.

Aaron Hinde

To learn more about Aaron, follow @aaronhinde on Instagram.

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