How Radical Gratitude Plays Into My Life

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So I’ve been practicing something I personally call “radical gratitude” and it has changed my life. I outline exactly how I do this here and the effects it has had for me and others as well. This post was well received when shared on Facebook, for which I am thankful as I felt nervous sharing. It even sparked an amazing discussion in the comments there with people sharing their incredible experiences! The whole reason I wrote this post is because I truly want to help others change their lives since I finally figured out something that works for me, so I hope you appreciate this too.

Firstly, if you don’t read this whole post, let me give you one small suggestion real quick – DON’T DOWNPLAY THE SMALL THINGS! As they come up, just try to consciously think to yourself “hey, that was actually kind of cool!” By making a habit to acknowledge the small things as they arise, you are working to engrain thoughtfully thoughtless gratitude into your daily life and practices.

I challenge everyone to try to adopt this practice. It’s admittedly really hard at first but then it actually starts to come naturally. I didn’t feel thankful at first but now I honestly do. It’s genuine.

So now let’s get to it. What radical gratitude is for me is that I try to find something to be thankful for with everything. This especially includes grieving Sean, Arman, and the countless other friends and family members I have lost. And you know what! There was only one time when I wasn’t initially able to find something for which to be grateful. To get over this, I reached out. I talked with some people. Looked through some pictures. Shared some stories. Hung out with my cat. Just a short bit later, I found myself overall thankful for everything, especially memories, my cat, and my friend, Mary. I appreciate having had the experience because I learned I can always find something for which to be thankful. If you ever can’t think of something to be grateful for, I urge you to please reach out.

Continuing off that point, someone asked for an example of something specific where I struggled to find gratitude. I mentioned them in the previous paragraph, but I lost my fiancé, Sean, who I was with forever (as it felt to me) in June 2020 and another man who was my best friend and whom I loved, Arman, in the summer a few years prior. (Side note: summer just isn’t my season apparently…. It used to be my favorite, oh well). I couldn’t do enough to save them. They were my all day, everyday men so much so that my life dramatically changed as they were ripped away from me. I now had empty days. I cannot adequately described the pain their losses caused then and still do cause now.

But – I am so lucky to have experienced love like the bonds I shared with them that the pain was worth it. I would never trade the memories, experiences, emotion, highlights, love, bliss – the lives I shared with them, even knowing the great despair (to the point of severe prolonged periods of suicidal ideation) I would have to go through. I’m blessed to have experienced such deep relationships of two different types that not everyone will get to know even just one of during their lives – I’ve had loves so great to shatter my life twice – there’s a blessing there somewhere. In retrospect, I am even thankful I spent my 23rd birthday at Arman’s funeral as I can’ think of a better way to spend that day given the situation. Another gratitude point: with both of them, our last words to each other were “I love you”s.

Another thing I do is I try to always be thankful in my daily life and make sure it shows. I say “thank you” so many times a day and always support my words by explaining why I am thankful, which must be nice for other people to know how much I value them. That way the words aren’t shallow and meaningless too! If I am able to and someone goes above and beyond, I do more.

An example would be writing a letter about what someone did for me and sending it to the right people. At the very least, it must be awesome for the person to hear what I have to say, but I also try to advocate for them if I can. Today I did just that: I wrote a letter explaining how a temporary receptionist I often see isn’t being used to their whole potential. I advocated for them to get a permanent job and maybe even a scholarship. With my argument, I made it as clear and strong as possible, supporting my claims. I really feel this might get the amazing person an offer of a permanent position. The company now knows that they would be doing him, themselves, and everyone who interacts with him a disservice. I know I laid out why in an effective manner. (Update: They made him a permanent employee.)

If I can’t address my thanks in other ways, I often post about it on Facebook to let the world know I appreciate it. People tend to like those posts, especially if they’re about my emotional support cat, Patches and I include a cute picture of her, like I did here. Everyone loves pets and she’s one of the people for whom I’m most grateful! I’ve been planning a post about her for a while, so look out for it in the near future! 😸

I know people often talk about gratitude lists at the end of the day as being important. I was never able to do them before, but now I can say I don’t have to do so. By acknowledging my gratitude immediately as it comes up, and it comes up all the time, I end every day thankful and I’m ready to start tomorrow, which has never been the case before.

Please try to incorporate radical gratitude on your everyday life. My life is now worth living due to it. I know it’s really hard but it’s SO worth it. If you try and it doesn’t work out, I’ll give you your money back… Protip: gratitude is free. 💸💸💸

I used to be such a dark, cynical, pessimistic person but now I can disgustingly say I’m a positive person. Ugh, gross. My old self is disgusted with my current self, haha. And people have noticed this new person I am about me! I still like everything dark.

Right now I’m grateful for my gifts as a writer, having a platform, love, friends, Sean and Arman, my cat, and ice cream! 😸🍨


Liz Kay
November 15, 2020