I just read another article regarding the happiness one can find in simply being grateful. I remember this concept first took real estate in my mind through Oprah. There was a time I was a huge Oprah fan, thinking every word out of her mouth was filled with wisdom and love, but this advice didn’t sit well with me. It actually made me feel resentful. Here I was struggling financially and in a marriage that needed help, just a couple of problems amongst several. And here she was, mega rich, mega famous, and starting to behave mega full of herself, and I’m thinking, “Easy for you to say, b***h.”

But now, I’m starting to wonder if there is some truth to this. I was raised in a household where doom and gloom were only an eye blink away, a monster hiding under the bed waiting to pounce on you in your sleep, a black cloud covering only your head as you walked down the street in search of the sunshine.

My ex-husband used to say that if he bought a boat, he’d name it “The Luckless.” Apparently, he was raised in a similar household.

I was of the firm opinion that if “it” (whatever “it” may be) was going to happen to anyone, it would happen to me. And it often did. But in retrospect, what happened to me really wasn’t all bad. I had an amazing amount of good happen to me despite being filled with the fear of punishment for any good fortune that came my way.

Of course, I take partial ownership for some of those good things since they never would have happened if I didn’t rise above my fears, recognize my potential, and strive for what seemed at times impossible.

And isn’t it all in your perspective, which is exactly the reasoning behind this gratitude theory. You stop to smell the roses, you realize your glass is not half empty, but half full (if not all full). You understand there is relevance to “things could be worse,” but you try not to define your life by that and appreciate things without necessarily comparing them to what could be worse.

This last article I read was written by a woman whose day wasn’t going well. It wasn’t terrible, but annoying, the breaking of a glass kind of day, and it put her in a bad mood. When she was leaving the grocery store, she literally stopped in her tracks and forced herself to find something to be grateful for and she noticed the sunshine and a beautiful flower and it shifted her mood.

There are some days I think it might take a bit more than that, but perhaps if we got in the habit of doing this (like constantly), we wouldn’t need anything extreme to be grateful for. I’ve been trying to do this in my nightly prayers before I go to sleep. I thank God for what has been provided thus far and pray for simple continuity and perhaps a little assistance for my loved ones and myself. Nothing astronomical, never for riches or anything material.

After decades of a “death is waiting at my door” attitude, I am clearly a work in progress. But I think I’m on my way. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate the sun shining, the people who love me and whom I love, and the beauty of the world’s wonders. And you know what? I’ve actually been doing that since I’m 15. I just didn’t realize I was being grateful until now.