We have all experienced grief in our lives. We grieve the loss of loved ones passing away, experiences we missed out on, and friendships and relationships that did not work out the way we thought. Especially this past year, together we globally face the grief of over a year of lost experiences, time with family, school, and more.
Now, I am a big advocate for grounding myself in gratitude. I make it a mission every day to recognize all of the wonderful things I have in my life and to actively not take them for granted.
However, I think a big misconception about gratitude is that it is an all-or-nothing kind of feeling. When I feel upset about the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in, I often find my mind guilt-tripping me by saying: “look at all you have to be grateful for! How can you be sad?”
Sitting with this uncomfortable feeling led me to one of my biggest realizations about gratitude:
You are allowed to feel gratitude for what you have, while you grieve what you have lost. These two emotions can coexist.
I can feel frustrated and robbed of my college experience, while also feeling immensely grateful for the time the pandemic has granted me with my older sister, Lauren, who moved home because of it.
I can feel heartbroken about not being able to hug my grandparents while feeling lucky that they are safe and being taken care of.
I can feel let down about all of the experiences I’ve missed out on from not being at school while feeling thankful for the experiences and lessons I’ve gained from being at home.
I can grieve the loss of my Nana while feeling insanely grateful for having such a strong relationship with a brilliant woman.
I can live my life at the intersection of gratitude and grief. And you can, too.
You can be upset about what you have lost, and simultaneously not neglect to acknowledge the beautiful things you have gained. To acknowledge all there is to be grateful for. To relish in the little joys tucked away in moments throughout our day.
I challenge you to choose to trust that even in this unpredictable time, there is still growth, beauty, and understanding to be found — even among the pain and sadness.
I challenge you to choose to trust that it is safe to live in this intersection between gratitude and grief.