People often ask me, “Jen, how can you be so happy all of the time?” The truth is, I’m not naturally joyous. I have been challenged my entire life – since I was a child – with anxiety and depression. In order to have a life that I enjoy, and yes to be happy and even joyous much of the time, I must be very intentional about it.
I have what I call a Magic Box of tools for living a joyous life! Practically speaking, my “magic box” is full of the tools and wisdom I gained living a life devoted to experiencing joy.
If I had to pick one bring-on-the-joy practice from my magic box, I will always choose RADICAL GRATITUDE!
Radical Gratitude is different from other forms of gratitude. In his blog Raptitude: Getting Better at Being Human, David Cain describes how he was encouraged by Buddhist teacher Nikki Mirghafori to find gratitude for everything that happens to them. He describes the experience as a way of challenging our initial feeling when a life event seems wholly bad or uncomfortable. He calls this practice of finding gratitude in everything Radical Gratitude.
Kristian Hall, author and fellow human challenged by depression, defines Radical Gratitude as, “holding on to what is good in life – no matter how much pain and suffering you also experience.”
Gay Hendricks and Carol Kline, in their book Conscious Luck: 8 Secrets for Intentionally Changing Your Fortune include the practice of Radical Gratitude as one of the key concepts for bringing good luck into your life!
For me, Radical Gratitude is a practice of digging deep to find the light in what seems like the saturated dark. Sometimes this means being grateful for the simplest things, like the ability to smile when all I have been able to do is cry. Other times it means being grateful for important lessons in the personal growth I have learned from going through something very, very difficult.
Perhaps the most significant part of Radical Gratitude for me is how I have gained incredible strength and resilience over the years from using it as my most important practice for rising out of the dark.
Thankful, grateful, radically grateful
So yes, I am thankful for things like my health, my family, and the food on my table. I am grateful for sunny days, my daughter’s laughter and the side hugs my teenage son gives me.
But, I am Radically Grateful for the intense fear I overcame when that same big 17-year-old boy was an infant undergoing major surgery for a severe kidney defect.
I am Radically Grateful for the pain and sorrow from the loss of our business and home in the economic crash of 2008 and our ability to recover and rise even stronger.
I am Radically Grateful for all of the tools I keep in my Magic Box to lift me out of the darkness that accompanies depression and anxiety.
And, I am Radically Grateful that I have a business through which I get to teach, support, mentor, and coach other women so that they too can have a Magic Box of tools to help them lead joy-filled lives.
Radical Gratitude 2020
I tell you what, 2019 was a very dark year for my family; I thought for sure that 2020 could be nothing but much, much better. Little did I know that a worldwide pandemic would rapidly sweep across the globe!
Food and Staples Shortages
NO TOILET PAPER
Loss of Jobs/ Businesses
2020 was filled with very dark times. It may seem incredibly hard to be Radically Grateful. But, I challenge you to see what you can find to be Radically Grateful for!
Go beyond, “I am thankful that my children did not get Covid.” Go beyond, “I am grateful that my family has food.” What did you learn from the challenges of 2020? What can you be Radically Grateful for learning and experiencing during this pandemic?
I challenge you to dig deep, to find how this experience has helped you to be a better human!