Gratitude in Tough Times: Bringing Light in the Dark

Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight. – Joan Chittister

Pessimistic. Negative thinker. Sensitive. Prone to depression.

That’s who I was.

There were moments that I will just find myself crying. I would wake up in the middle of the night and just feel the sadness all over me. I’d feel pain, rejection and being left out. I’d feel deep sorrow permeating inside me. I would cry and cry until I fall asleep again.

And when I am down. Gee! I was really down. And it would be difficult for me to stand up again and live my life. For weeks, my emotions would control and pull me down.

I am the type of person with a melancholic temperament. For a personality like mine, seeing the positive and being grateful is back-breaking.

I had this tough experience but to this day I am thankful. I had this difficult boss, I mean, super difficult boss. No matter how much effort I put into everything I do, it will not be appreciated. If I do well in my work there is no need for appreciation because I was just doing my job as expected of me. Those were his words to me. But when I make any mistake no matter how tiny and insignificant, it is easily noticed. I will be reprimanded immediately even in front of many people.

It was an arduous journey. Pessimistic as I am, if I have collected the tears I shed it would have been an ocean. Even my self-esteem went down.

But later on, I learned a very important lesson.

For you to improve the quality of your life, you must see the blessings. Then you will attract more of the things that you can be grateful for.

Yes, I am dealing with this difficult boss but I love my job.

Yes, my boss is grumpy at times but I am grateful that I can still smile and influence him to smile.

Yes, my boss is unappreciative but I am grateful for the people around me who support and love me.

Yes, my boss will easily reprimand me for my mistakes but I am grateful for the many opportunities for me to grow and improve.

So, instead of sulking in negativity and self-pity, I changed my perspective. I saw it as a challenge. I chose to see the blessings and learned to be grateful with the blessings that I have. I chose to work smarter. I read a lot of books and attended seminars to help me grow. I learned from my mistakes. I improved the quality of my work and my disposition.

And when I decided to change myself and the quality of my thoughts, without me knowing, my boss saw my improvement. He even commended me personally and even in front of others about how I have changed and improved through the years.

Because of that experience, I became a better person. A grateful one at that.

Today, you might not have a difficult boss that you are dealing with but instead you are in a difficult situation. You might be experiencing a grueling trial in life. You might be dealing with a loved one or an officemate who is challenging to deal with. You might have problems with your family, your finances, and your health.

I do not know where you are right now. But remember unless we experience failures and hardships in life we will not truly grow. It is essential for our success so that we may bear fruit.

I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. – John 12:24

GOD suffered and died for us. He was crucified and was buried in a dark tomb. After three days, He resurrected.

There might be times in our life where we feel it was dark, hopeless, and it seems that the suffering that you are experiencing will not end. You feel buried in the darkness of hardships, trials and difficulties. However, let us remind ourselves that problems in life are temporary because victory is on the way. Easter is coming.

Let us be persons who will see the good in difficult people. Let us be the kind of persons who will see the opportunity in a challenging situation, and the kind who will appreciate what we have, even in the face of darkness.

It is easy to become grateful when life is easy but being grateful when things are difficult is hard. Let us choose to embrace gratitude to be able to get through the hardships. And in the end, we will come out victorious!

Think of one difficult moment or any problem or any challenge you are experiencing in your life right now. Write down 10 blessings that comes with that problem.


Hazel Atencio is author of the book The Gratitude Habit:  How to Change Your Life by Saying Thank You Everyday.

She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering. When she was still in college, she dreamed of entering the convent to dedicate herself serving to God as a nun. She finds her calling serving God in Bo Sanchez ministries.

Hazel’s personal life mission is to influence and add value to others by bringing out their uniqueness and greatness.

To learn more about Hazel, connect with her via her Facebook page or email her at hazel.atencio@gmail.com.

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