Gratitude has been part of my life since my earliest memories. I don’t remember being taught to be grateful, but I do remember feeling a deep sense of gratitude in my heart and thanking God for having a bed to sleep at night, for having food to eat, and for my family even though we faced many struggles. As a teenager, I felt embarrassed that my legs were so skinny, and people made fun of them. However, on a deeper level, I am grateful I had legs and they worked fine.
When I came to the USA at age 19 and learned more about this country, I realized this culture is very grateful. Children are taught to express gratitude in many simple ways at a young age. When I had my first Thanksgiving experience, I fell head over heels in love with this celebration. Not just the food but also the true meaning of the holiday. As I get older and learn more about the true meaning of life, I realize gratitude is a central part of wellbeing.
One of my sisters suffered from depression most of her life and I asked her a few years ago if she felt and/or practiced this sense of deep gratitude I always experienced. To my surprise she answered “no.” I thought most people experienced this type of gratitude. As a therapist and life coach I am always encouraging people to find gratitude in all areas of life. Sometimes life gives us hard experiences to deal with and learning to see the lesson and finding the opportunity to be grateful is not always easy, it takes practice.
Life has given me a few challenges where I could not see the benefit in the moment but in the long run I did. Twenty years ago, after having 40 years of awesome sleep I developed insomnia. At first, I saw it as a curse, it consumed me. I looked everywhere for a solution. At first my doctor gave me sleeping pills and they worked out great, until they didn’t. Because of my struggle with insomnia I discovered my life’s purpose as I looked to find a solution to this challenge. At the beginning it did not feel good, it felt miserable, hopeless, helpless, angry, and discouraged. Very soon I came to the realization that I was going to be the one to find a solution and I embarked myself on the healing journey. My current business emerged from that struggle. If I had to do it all over again, I would say yes to it because the work I do gives me deep joy and invites me to be grateful every day several times a day in ways that I never dreamed. My insomnia challenge took me on a path I didn’t know existed. I discovered a holistic approach to wellness that integrates a mind, body, and spirit approach. I would not have followed this path if it had not been for my suffering. I am deeply grateful for what happened to me. Like this example, there are many that have shaped my life.
We are a soul having a human experience on this earth and when we can see all experiences, good and bad, are for the advancement of our soul the journey gets a little easier. When we practice gratitude our heart opens, our defenses come down, we can hear the loving guidance of our heart. I have also learned to be grateful for what I want as if I already have it. I love expressing it daily because I have received many gifts just by practicing gratitude in my heart for what I want as if it was already present in my life.
During this Thanksgiving season I want to invite you to practice gratitude in your heart and give yourself the gift of joy.
Veronica Correa, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker, certified hypnotherapist and life coach.
To learn more about her work visit: www.thepersonalwellnesscenter.com or call 410-742-6016