Monday, November 19, 2012

5 Surprising Things to be Grateful For

My Thanksgiving confession: I haven't always been good at gratitude. The truth is, I didn't entirely understand the concept. I'd heard the phrase "attitude of gratitude" but it didn't mean much to me. I was thankful enough for the good things in my life; that part was easy. But what about all the rest? Was I supposed to be thanking someone for the breakups, the miserable jobs, the nonstop family drama?

Well, now that I'm older and (at least a little bit) wiser, I realize that the answer is yes. To me, gratitude is about appreciating everything we've been given, big, little, or seemingly unpleasant. I now try to remember that all the apparent "crap" is something to be thankful for. It's all part of this incredible gift of being alive. If things were always easy, how would you ever grow as a person? How would you ever know compassion? Empathy? Looking back, I owe so much to the rough times I've experienced, in life and in writing. I can honestly say I'm grateful for all of it.

So in that spirit, I'd like to offer thanks to those who have helped in my writing journey. But not just people like my beloved editor, agent, and critique partners, but also to ...

1. The agents who turned me down. You helped me focus my writing and my own "marketing" of my writing.

2. The editors who rejected my books. You taught me the value of working with someone who really loves my writing. You made me strive harder for what I wanted, and I thank you for it.

3. Reviewers and readers who were less than enchanted with my books. Sometimes you helped me see things I want to do differently. But you also relieved me of the impossible burden of trying to please everyone all the time.

4. Those who disdain the genre of romance. You made me think hard about why I love it as much as I do.

5. Authors who are so incredible you make me question what the hell I think I'm doing. On the bright side, you give me something to aspire to.

So there you have it. I'm not saying I enjoy the rough moments. They can still knock me offstride. But looking at the big picture, I'm truly grateful to them.

How about you? What are your thoughts about gratitude? What are you thankful for?

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Jennifer! When I think of gratitude, I think of the good stuff. I am grateful to have family, friends, a home in Alaska, my writing. But in reading your list, I thought of tough jobs, failures, rejections that I learned from. All those things made me who I am today, so I'm thankful for that too. Thanks for giving me that reality check.