Attitude of Gratitude: Day Seven

Yalden Hugging Student

If you have been keeping a gratitude journal, there are times when it seems like a struggle to pinpoint things you are grateful for on a daily basis. But remember to embrace the people and the moments in your life that lift you up, inspire and challenge you.

When he recorded this episode of The BOOM Podcast, mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden said he had been struggling to find daily gratitude, but that’s a good thing.

“I think we have to look for what we are grateful for, and every day it’s about searching for something to be thankful for. I mean, who wakes up every day grateful, like – ‘Oh I’m grateful to be alive.’ How fake is that!”

Gratitude and Loss

Jeff woke up on this particular morning and thought about his new friends, Mike and Becky Bina, who recently lost their son Kyler to the forever decision of suicide.

“Let me talk about gratitude,” he said. “Mike and Becky have an amazing family of support, love and togetherness – and that’s really helping them get through this whole thing.”

Jeff recently spoke at a suicide awareness event set up by the Binas in Cresco, Iowa – and that is where they began their bond of friendship.

“Mike and Becky:  I’m waking up this morning, and I am grateful for our friendship. I’m grateful that we met, [but it was] through pain. You heard me say when I came up to Cresco that life doesn’t happen to us – life happens for us. You will understand this when you finish going through the grieving process and you get to that acceptance.”

If the above seems insensitive or unsympathetic, that is not Yalden’s intention. Far from it. Most of us have experienced hardship in life, and some of us have been devastated by unspeakable loss – but we wake up the next morning.

“As we wake up the next day, we move forward with one foot in front of the other. I think it’s important that we remember that everything we go through shapes us. Everything that we go through makes us the people that we are destined to become.”

Life is a series of victories and defeats.

“Some victories are epic, like the Houston Astros. Some victories are a part of life, like little league baseball.  Some defeats are forever life-changing [think the Las Vegas massacre or the and the October truck attack in New York City], and yet a high school football team loses too.”

Jeff reminds us that we are not victims in life, and we should never play that card. We cannot have that mindset. We are not victims. We rise up and become victors.

But I’m thinking of gratitude – we are not a victim in life – we can’t play that card. We can’t have that mindset. We are not a victim. Rise up and become a victor.

“We can all be bitter and angry over circumstances and situations, but what does that do? It doesn’t help. Let’s choose to become better. That’s a mindset,” he said.

We all have a story, but do our stories define us – or do they shape us?

“Do you live your life for titles or testimonies? That’s a matter of being selfish or selfless. My friends, I want to invite you to be really specific about something you are grateful for. As a matter of fact, I challenge you to go back to a painful moment in your life – and I want you to find gratitude in that situation.”

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Author:Roger Yale

Roger Yale is a longtime contributor to McClatchy Newspapers’ The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, focusing on stories about the people who make the Grand Strand awesome, including teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden. He was voted Story of the Year winner four times by readers of The Sun News’ sister publication, Weekly Surge. Roger is the parent of adult twins. His son is a United States Marine and his daughter is currently involved in marketing for Broadway productions in New York City. He spent many years as a single father, and he believes that the experience was something to relish – and the bond he forged with his twins remains strong. Roger is also a working musician. For more about Roger, visit his blog: www.rogeryale.wordpress.com

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