In This Season of Thanksgiving, an Invitation—and a Challenge
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
I used to think being grateful meant appreciating the things that give us cause to be glad—healthy families, meaningful work, fulfilling communities, a thriving world.
But then I read a story about a woman on a quest to radically expand her sense of gratitude for all the ways life shapes us—including through struggles. Her brother-in-law had lost a one-year-old child, and the author wondered how he and his wife could ever come back from such irreversible loss. How could any of them be thankful for anything again? Then her brother-in-law, through his grief, told her: At least we were given a whole precious year of our lives to know him. That was more than nothing.
It's one thing to give thanks for things that make us glad, but it's a different challenge to expand our appreciation toward all the ways life makes us who we are. We're expected to be happy, to succeed, and to flourish financially—and when it doesn't turn out that way, it's easy to miss the roses for the thorns.
What if we expanded our sense of thankfulness and appreciation so that it wasn't only responsive to what makes us feel good, but what makes us grow? What if we cultivated an outlook of gratitude every single day? Would it be easier to try that together, with the encouragement, insights, and inspiration of others?
For the next three weeks, we're inviting you to join us in a 21-day Gratitude Challenge—a call to fill your heart and expand your awareness by recognizing gratitude at least once every single day. YES! is partnering with KindSpring.org and the thousands of people around the world who have already signed up to share their experiences and support as they do this—starting on November 7 and finishing on Thanksgiving. You'll get daily support emails and be invited to participate in an online space where you can swap stories and share ideas. You'll see some of the most inspiring ones on our website—maybe even your own.
Developing a grateful approach to life can improve your health, strengthen your relationships, and encourage a sense of purpose in your life. We hope you'll join us in the challenge of finding the good in each moment.
—Christa Hillstrom, web managing editor
A moving sampling of participants’ reflections from the first two days of the Gratitude Challenge.
More on gratitude