Giving Thanks, Even for my Tribulations!

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First of all I know you’re wondering why I’m taking time to write, when I could be getting full on food. I read in a post today to listen to your muse, don’t deny or stifle her. So thought I’d get these few word down and posted. As everyone is giving thanks for all the good things they have, it got me thinking. Aside for the good things, what else am I thankful for? What about my trials and disappointments, am I thankful for those too; after all they were great life lessons. It’s easy to look at good things and say, “yea I’m definitely thankful for those things.” I know in my life I’ve had bad things that happened, but that also changed me for the good afterwards; I’m thankful for those too. Although there are plenty of good things that I’m thankful for, I’m going to take time to reflect on things that weren’t exactly good, but had shaped me afterwards.

I grew up in a country that seemed worlds apart from where I am now, we always had food and shelter, but there were limitations. So why am I thankful for this? It’s taught me to be content with little, I don’t need big extravagant gifts and presents, something small and thoughtful goes a long way. My childhood has also though me to be goal oriented, and strive hard to make a better life for myself and generations after me. That tenacity has helped me through school, since education has always been a big part of my life; education represented a way to transcend your circumstances. I was also an only child for 13 years, that’s helped me to be ok with being in quiet spaces. Taking time to reflect and contemplating my past and future. I’ve always been a thinker, and those days sitting at the window and thinking of going to America, the place where apparently the streets were made of gold, helped shape who I am now. Of course now that I’m here, the streets aren’t made of gold, and you still have to work quite hard to get what you want.

For a long time I thought that not being married and having a family of my own, was a downfall. I think over the years I’ve matured and would make a much better husband and father. I’ve learnt to embrace who I am, and I’ve learnt so much about myself by just focusing on me. What’s so good about that you ask? People are complicated, relationships are even more complicated. Over the past few years relationships of mine have started and ended, and so have those of friends. For me although there were several reasons why those relationships ended, one of the constants were that we’re all figuring out ourselves. Adding another person to that equation made it more complicated than it needed to be. Of course we’re all familiar with the famous “you’re not the same person as when we first met.” Then there came that dreaded question, ‘Is this the right person for me, are they helping me to achieve the best me?’ Of course I now believe that those people who are no longer in our lives, were put there at that point to help us get to the next point. For that reason I don’t look at failed relationships as something negative, I see them as an opportunity to grow. Call me a romantic or idiot, I do believe that there is someone out there for me ‘The One’. Together we’ll help each other achieve the best us. I’ve come to believe that’s what a relationship should be about. A good loving relationship should be one where both people are benefiting equally, rather than one person getting more, or some other variance of that.

I’m thankful for my job, and no it’s not for the obvious reasons, like having money and security. I’m currently doing something that I thought I would enjoy; I’ve unfortunately learnt that I’m not passionate about it. Not being passionate about my job is effecting me more negatively than I thought it would; it’s effecting me much more than everything else. Yes I’m aware that plenty of people are doing things that they’re not passionate about. I’ve had other jobs in the past, where the pay wasn’t that good, I may not have liked my boss, or even liked the company. However I liked what I did, and that motivated me to go in day after day, be positive and do the best I can. That’s because I liked what I did, and that intrinsic motivation got me through, and kept me working 100% day after day. What’s so different now? As I’m learning more about myself I’ve learnt that although I like structure, I still what autonomy, I want to work and not have anyone looking over my shoulder. I like the people I work with, and there are a lot of great things about my company, but deep down I now I’m not passionate about what I’m doing. Sometimes I feel that without passion I can become my own enemy, or maybe I’m just over thinking it and I’ll be fine.

I’m thankful for these few examples because they represent parts of my life I thought I’d have a handle on my now, heck I’m approaching my mid 30’s and I’m still not married, have a great career, and own my own home. While those things are important, I’m learning that even with those things, I can still feel empty and lost inside. So despite not having those things I’m still happy with whom I’ve become, and I know that there is a purpose for me here. I’m learning that I’m where I’m needed, I’ve found that I’ve been available for others at just the right time, just when they really needed someone to talk to, or that encouraging word. Of course the one thread holding it all together is my faith. I’ve found my way back to god, or maybe I’ve realized that I’ve never actually lost him. There is much more to those examples that I’ve given, those are some of my low points that come to mind. I’ve learnt to have faith, and trust that I’ll continue to live day by day, and that I’ll always have the support I need. Maybe it’s a friend reaching out when I needed one, maybe it’s a random post on Facebook, or even an encouraging word. It all makes me feel that I’m loved and will always have the support of god, my family and friends.

So while everyone else is being thankful for all the good in their life, I’m taking time to reflect on things that seemed bad, but turned out to be a great life lesson. So what about you, what have you learnt from your trials and challenges. It’s easy to be thankful for good situations, but what challenging situation can you be thankful for today.

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