How To Be Grateful in a Situation You Hate

Sometimes, we have to dig deep to find something to be grateful for in a situation we do not like. However, if we decide to, we can find something to be thankful for in any situation.

For example, my neighbors have wind chimes that hang along the side of their house that faces my house. Our houses are about twenty apart. They may look pretty, but I do not enjoy hearing wind chimes when they chime.

I tend to be sensitive to noise, and they can keep me awake on windy nights. Or they are all I can hear when trying to concentrate on a project. I have hoped they would blow far, far away when it’s extremely windy.

Being Grateful Using a List

One day, I decided to stop focusing on how much I did not like them. Instead, I challenged myself to find things to be grateful for regarding the wind chimes:

  • I can hear the wind chimes. Each chime is a reminder that my hearing is working just fine.
  • It could be worse. They only have three sets of chimes.
  • It’s not windy every day! There have been many days where I have not heard them. 
  • The design of one set of chimes includes cardinals. The cardinals remind me of my grandma.
  • The noise from the neighbors could be much worse. Besides the dog that barks when it wants in, I’ve never heard any other noise from them. No loud music. No super loud TV. No late-night parties. They are friendly, good neighbors.
  • A wind chime next door is better than a smoker who smokes outside, close enough for the smoke to drift in my open windows (which happened when the house was rented out).  Note: I’m not judging people that choose to smoke. That’s their choice, but I do not want to smell cigarette smoke in my house.

When I hear them chime, I use it as a reminder to be grateful for something. Is there anything positive I can think of at the time? Such as my husband, good food, a house that protects me from the same wind that makes the chimes chime, or other small things to be grateful for.

A once annoying chime has become a reminder to be grateful in all situations.

If you struggle to be grateful, I encourage you to make a gratitude list. What you discover may surprise you and change you as it did me!

Another time that I made a gratitude list when I was feeling happy was on a beautiful fall day.

Note: my advice to choose gratitude doesn’t apply to people in abusive or domestic violence situations who need help and to get into a safe living situation. 

Choosing Gratitude 

By focusing on this gratitude list instead of how annoying the chimes are, I do not notice them as much anymore. My choice has made all the difference. I choose gratitude. The windchime example may feel simple. 

I recently heard the story of David A. Grant, who chose grateful after being run over while riding his bicycle by a teenager in a car. David suffered from many broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

David says, “I’ve seen many who choose to be beaten by life’s hardships. They wander around, melancholy at what they’ve lost, willing to tell their own tale of woe to anyone who will listen.

Thanks, but no thanks. I choose to be grateful.”

His story of choosing gratitude is inspiring. 

While we can’t always choose things that happen to us, we can choose how we will respond.

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Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes

Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.