How do you combat despair?

How do you keep worries in perspective?


I’m here to propose an answer to you. There is a power in remembering the good, no matter the situation we are in. 

Today’s topic and answer to combatting despair, living a life of anti-misery, is gratefulness.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “grateful”? What does it mean to you?

For some, they think of being thankful, and with this being November 1st, they think of Thanksgiving.

Others think of being positive, which can easily translate to this pressure to be positive 24/7.

I’m going to propose a different definition: to be grateful is to remember. 

It’s not minimizing life’s struggles. It’s not minimizing the pain. It’s not ignoring the confusion or chaos around you. It’s choosing to remember the good. It’s remembering that the pain is not all there is. It’s knowing there is more.

Being grateful takes daily practice. The phrase “an attitude of gratitude” always used to frustrate me. Whenever I would hear it, it would usually be coming from someone who wanted me to only focus on the positive, not the real world situations around me. Plus, gratitude isn’t a feeling, or an attitude. It’s a daily practice and a choice. It also changes our perspective.

I have experienced some pretty tough things in my life. Healing from those moments has been a long journey. When I wake up in the morning, I have a choice. I can either choose to focus on the pain and ignore everything else. I can choose to ignore the pain and only focus on the positive (aka toxic positivity, not gratefulness) Or, I can choose to find and remember the things and people I am grateful for, while also acknowledging the very real pain that is there. This is how I have found joy, no matter my circumstances. 

For me, not allowing the trials or pain to overcome me is also about not being powerless. Being a survivor of sexual assault, I know the feeling of powerlessness all too well. It ties in real easily with feeling hopeless and helpless. However, part of my healing journey has been reclaiming my power. It has been realizing that I have a say over my future. That my past doesn’t get to define me. Most importantly, that the man who assaulted me does not get the chance to determine who I will become.

That meant I needed to change my mindset. I could not live in a state of powerlessness, hopelessness, or helplessness. Because I wasn’t powerless. I wasn’t hopeless. I wasn’t helpless. I had been in that moment of assault, yes, but that was not who I was.

Remembering what I have and who I have to be grateful for, allows me to see that there is still good in the world. It reminds me that I am loved and worthy of being loved. It reminds me that there is hope and light. It is a daily practice that reframes the challenges I am going through.

Gratitude is powerful. 

What are you grateful for today?


“It is not joy that makes us grateful,

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

Brother David Steindl-Rast

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