The Habit of Being Grateful

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And, because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


A wonderful quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, it is supported by many new thought/spiritual leaders.

I agree with the quote with one exception: the word “good.”

As I have cultivated my habit of being grateful for everything that comes to me, I realize that all things have contributed to my advancement, including some things I might (judgmentally) categorize as “bad.” As I look as some of the “negative” experiences in my life, I realize I have learned and grown as much from them as the “positive” experiences.

Who I am today is the sum total of all of my experiences, no matter how I want to categorize them. And I am grateful for all of them, “good or bad,” as I really like the “person” I have become.

I look around at experiences I see others have, and I wonder how their experiences might have affected me and how they would have influenced me to become the enlightened spiritual being I am today. As I reflect on this thought and compare theirs to my experiences, it is clear to me that the experiences I chose were the ones that would help me to arrive at the place I am today.

Some of my experiences protected me, even though I had no idea that’s what their purpose was. Others became learning situations. All of them provided me with an opportunity for growth. Whether I chose to grow as a result may have taken a while to manifest. I think the act of being able to be grateful for the experience is when the growth from the experience began.