It’s that time of year when friends and families gather together to celebrate all that they have. Facebook and Instagram feeds blow up with hashtags like #Thankful, #Grateful and #Blessed. We focus on silver linings and bask in the light and warmth of bright sides.
I am a huge fan of gratitude, be it on Thanksgiving or any old regular day. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the notion that regularly experiencing gratitude improves one’s internal emotional quality of life, as well as one’s physical health. But sometimes I wonder if the push towards gratitude and “positive thinking” is incompatible with the messiness of life. As humans, we tend toward binary thinking- people are either good or bad, decisions are right or wrong, feelings are happy or sad.
We are grateful or we are unappreciative.
Throughout the last 11 years of living with this progressively debilitating disease, I have learned that I can actually hold multiple opposing feelings in one hand. I don’t have to choose one over the other.
I am grateful that this disease has allowed me to evolve psychologically and spiritually and I hate that I have to have this disease at all.