I feel like the word gratitude gets thrown around a lot these days. #gratitude has nearly 9 million posts on Instagram, and it can sometimes be seen as an easy way to seem humble. For me personally, one of my biggest lessons since loosing my mum last year is that of gratitude. But what does gratitude really mean?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, gratitude is defined as:
“The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
But I see it a little differently.
The last year has been horrific. It’s been painful, frustrating, anger invoking, and brought with it the hardest moments of my life so far. Moments that I hope and pray that I never have to face again. But with all that, it’s brought small moments of joy, appreciation for the unwavering support of loved ones and acknowledgement of the simple fact that I am here. I am healthy and living, and actually incredibly luckily.
There have been times over the last 12 months where I’ve felt unable to see a way out. That life was never going to be good again. That the pure physical pain in my chest was never going to leave me. That this was the way things were going to be from now on.
Then, two weeks ago, I lost my grandmother. We knew it was coming but that doesn’t make the sadness any less real. Even though it hasn’t all quite sunk in for me yet, I am able to use everything I have learnt over the last year to help guide me through.
I’m a great believer that the dark moments help the bright ones shine brighter. And though this can be hard to believe when you’re lost in the pitch black, it only takes a small shimmer of light to help break the clouds. Just a little bit.
When experiencing loss, in whatever capacity – it could be a life, a dream, a relationship, anything – everything can feel big. Getting up and facing the day in an achievement in itself. Yet, I’ve found that a small moment of joy can bring so much more with it.
That one simple moment is a sign, a sign of the goodness that is still out there in the world. That there is hope. There are better and easier times ahead.
Sometimes it can be the simplest of things. A break from work for a coffee that feels like a warm comforting hug, bringing that little energy boost you need to see you through your day. A friend showing up just when you need them. A movie to transport you away to another world, so you can forget just for a moment.
To me, gratitude is appreciating the little things in life. I am grateful for the fresh autumn air blowing against me as I climb the hill back to our flat. I am grateful for the home M and I have created, and that not only do I have a roof over my head but it is a warm and safe place. I am grateful for the incredible friends and family I am able to surround myself with every day. I am grateful for cups of tea and golden leaves outside my window.
Ultimately, my gratitude is for the moments of light. Because I know that a good life is simply a series of good moments, and these are the little building blocks of a magical adventure.
How do you see gratitude? I think that everyone has their own definition and interpretation of the term, and would love to hear yours.