Gratitude Is A Choice

gratitude is a choice

I was in Psychology Today and saw this article on Gratitude and thought to share some of it here.

Living in gratitude is a choice!

This post correlates with my last post, I Am a Survivor! in that I choose to be grateful for what I have and where I am at this stage in my life.

I am still a person, no matter the diagnosis I have and still deserving of a fulfilling life in any way I can get.

It is true that no act of gratitude is ever too small, even down to being grateful to be able to see the intricacies in a spider web!! It is Mother Nature here in NL that has expanded my sense of gratitude as I am very grateful I am here to see all this Province has to offer.

I hate spiders, they are one of the scariest bugs, but I can appreciate what they bring to the World and how beautiful their webs can be. I make meaning to their existence in my life by being grateful for what they bring to my world, and it helps me tolerate them.

I have quite a few health issues, but I am still grateful. I hurt all the time, but I can still get up and move! I am still here, still enjoying my life in every way I possibly can. I want to do something, I find a way to do it. I want something, I find a way to get it. My limitations don’t stop me. I am slow and can’t “do” as others can, but it still gets done!

My oldest son calls me a “tank”, and I can appreciate the analogy as a military tank can take a beating and still keep going. That is me.

I was in the Doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago and she was telling me about the Lab report, we talked about the appt I have for laser treatments next month, and at the end of it, she commented on how calm I am, even when she told me I could lose the clitoris there.

I explained to her how I have come to see it is only skin, and it will heal. It may represent my womanhood, but it isn’t all that makes me a woman. How I felt about that was inside, not associated with the skin on the outside. I have truly come to feel that way over the years and I will forever be grateful for my ability to do that. My quality of life comes from the quality of my thoughts!

I have endured and still feel that my life is a gift, no matter how hard it may be at times, as I choose to look at it that way. I have pain, but I am grateful I can endure it and there are medical treatments that help me do that. There are quite a few things I use to help me navigate and get things done, thanks to technology!

I get mad and frustrated at times and wonder “Why me” but it doesn’t last for long as my pragmatic side kicks in and reminds me the “why” doesn’t matter, it is a fact I need to accept and learn to deal with. I put my head down and face the situation by learning all I can about it and forge on. Same as I did over being bullied by tenants! Education and acceptance are what I need for all things.

I now have something else to be grateful for!! I finally got the call yesterday letting me know I got a Family Doctor!! After waiting over 2 years and having all my appointments by telephone or going to the Emerg Dept. I finally can get help to maintain all the other things I have. I am looking forward to the call later today with my first appointment time!!

When I got here I was lucky enough to connect with a walk-in clinic that got me to see the OBGYN and Orthopedic specialists I have and also gave me my prescriptions every 3 months, but now I can physically see someone. It is just one more thing that is falling into place for me!

Rather than get upset and pissed off, I gained patience and learned to advocate for myself and get what I need instead. I learned a long time ago that getting upset at people serves no one. All the customer service skills I gained from my career helped me in my personal life! I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of those calls looking for information.

Live in gratitude for all you have, and in time you will get everything you need.


Discovering Meaning Through the Lens of Gratitude

Experience life as a gift.

Posted June 13, 2023 |  Reviewed by Michelle Quirk


  • No expression or act of gratitude, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
  • There is a symbiotic relationship between gratitude and meaning.
  • Gratitude comes in many forms.

Because life naturally has its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good times and not-so-good times, it is not always easy to be thankful for what comes our way. Having an appreciative mindset in the face of life’s many formidable challenges may seem counterintuitive, if not impossible, for many people. Finding meaning during such trying times can be especially difficult as well. Importantly, the world-renowned psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl, M.D., Ph.D., taught us that there is a “seed of meaning” in every moment of our lives.1

I am convinced that, in the final analysis, there is no situation that does not contain within it the seed of a meaning.” –Viktor E. Frankl2

Dr. Frankl also famously espoused that the search for meaning is the primary intrinsic motivation of human beings, which is both a key attribute of our innate humanness and a unique quality that distinguishes us from other living entities. It is against this characterization of the human condition that “gratitude,” both as a concept and in practice, becomes a useful lens through which the path to meaning can be viewed and brought into sharper focus, no matter what our personal circumstances may be.

Gratitude, in short, is fundamental to finding meaning in life, work, and society. Among other things, it provides a beacon for guiding the search for meaning as well as is an important driver for discovering the “seeds” of meaning, as Frankl wisely advised us, that lay along our life path.

Much like author Lewis Carroll’s fictional character Alice who was able to find light at the end of the rabbit hole by looking through the looking glass, everyone can find meaning by looking through the lens of gratitude. Realizing this meaning potential, however, requires the conscious exercise of both free will and intentionality. Gratitude, in this meaning-centric context, can be viewed as consisting of three dimensions: choice, virtue, and spirit. Each of these dimensions, moreover, influences and guides the human quest for meaning in ways that have deep philosophical and psychological roots.

Gratitude as Choice

Simply put, gratitude can be understood as the human capacity to make choices. In this connection, choice can be exercised in three ways: in our attitude (i.e., mindset), in our expression (i.e., verbal and nonverbal cues), and in our behavior (i.e., actions).

Insofar as choice of attitude is concerned, Frankl famously espoused that “Everything can be taken from a man, but…the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”3 In our book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, the title of which is instructive on this very issue, there is a short passage that, although it cannot be attributed to Frankl directly (and its original source remains anonymous), certainly is consistent with and reaffirms his essential teachings:

Between stimulus and response, there is space.
In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our happiness.
4 (Emphasis added)

It is interesting to note that the life lessons in these three lines can be traced to the ancient Greek philosophers. Epictetus, for example, has been quoted as espousing the view that “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” When answering life’s call, gratitude can be conceptualized and practiced as a choice in the three ways mentioned earlier.

In other words, gratitude is not simply a manifestation of the freedom to choose our attitude, it is also embedded in the way we choose to express it and, importantly, in how we choose to behave in response to life’s challenges and opportunities. It should go without saying that only through our actions are we able to demonstrate that we truly mean what we feel, what we think, and what we say.

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3 Replies to “Gratitude Is A Choice”

  1. Yes, gratitude is a choice and it’s isn’t easy. It’s very hard to practice gratitude in the world we live in but gratitude is really the key to a good life.

    1. Thank you for your comment Pooja! No, it isn’t easy but I agree, gratitude is the key to a good life. Without it, we always feel resentful and that is not good feeling for anyone, just propagates more negativity. It only takes a second to think of one simple thing you are grateful for and over time it will make a big difference.

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