When your rent is due and income is low, or your relationship has ended messily and that wonderful future you had planned is crumbling, or friendships seem strained and it is hard to love life or even yourself, it can be hard to find gratitude. These times used to get me down. A feeling of unworthiness would take over my being for months on end, and I couldn’t see the gifts in the shadows.
When I was in the depths of my dark days, I remember people telling me about gratitude. They would say, “just be grateful to be alive,” but at the time that pushed me even lower. I just couldn’t feel it, and then I would feel bad about not being able to feel it. The dark days hung around for quite a few years.
I remember feeling desperate for change, trying anything to get out of that victim, poor-me mode. Crawling out of that hole was no easy feat. It took perseverance, honesty, practicing self-love, going deep into my darkness (instead of trying to push it away), and gratitude. Gratitude made it possible to transition into the light.
I remember the shift quite clearly. It was as if all the crap I was holding onto, all the negativity, all of the he said/she said, and the past attachments suddenly flipped on their heads. Through the darkness, the lonely times, the heartbreaks, the lost escapades, the failed attempts, and volatile surroundings, I never saw just how bloody strong I was or how much I could endure and still manage to smile. This was the first time I felt grateful in the eyes of darkness. This realization allowed the floodgates to open and for me to see that I am a life explorer. Through this gratitude, I discovered my purpose, my reason for being on this earth, as me.
I needed to feel all the light and shadows of this human experience to really feel alive. My strength in the darkness led me to my passions and my purpose. I feel a greater sense of being. I’m inspired. I have drive and creative flare, and this gratifying knowledge helps keep me in the light.
It can be difficult in times of darkness to see hope or feel gratitude. When you’re in the dark, open your eyes. There is always a crack of light hiding somewhere. If you can’t find it, connect to the depths of your darkness. Feel grateful for the experience that is trying to show you something powerful and beautiful. It was this process that provided the strength for me to find the light.
BLOG BONUS: Toni's Life-Changing Tools
When I first read Toni’s blog submission, I was curious to know more about how she ignited and maintained her transformation. When I asked her to tell me more, here is what she shared:
The most important step was to stop and face myself, instead of trying to push the darkness away, override it, or avoid it. I went into it deeply. I remember one day I was laying on my bed feeling so alone, so I just let the feeling flow into the depths of my body, without analyzing it in my mind. As it turned out, giving my body permission to actually feel it, made the negative feelings evaporate.
I also started to learn about energy and how to work with it for healing. I meditated, and got to know and love myself. I learned the difference between my soul and my ego (which had the potential to sabotage), and I fell in love with all parts of me (ego included).
I think the major message is to take responsibility for your own self/life and in that give yourself gratitude and love. Become hyper self-aware. Step away from labels such as “depression” and “anxiety,” becoming mindful of the words you use to describe your story. Most importantly, pay close attention for times you move into blame and victim mode. These are, what I have found to be, the most life changing tools one can use.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TONI GUNSTON
Toni is a consciousness mentor from Australia whose purpose and passion is to share and facilitate the self-healing journey through grounded spirituality. She loves all things tied to self-evolution, universal connection, and life exploration. You can find her at http://www.the-truth-connection.com and on social media: