Gratitude’s answer to misery’s regret is acceptance. When I truly choose to be grateful, I must also choose to be grateful for the past. If I am grateful for the past, I can effectively accept the past. Complete acceptance will include acceptance of the way that I’ve felt, the way that I’ve acted, and that which I have said. When I choose to be grateful, I can accept the things the way that I have been treated and viewed by other people in my life. When I accept the past, I look at everything that has happened and take solace in the belief that, regardless of what has happened, I can be at peace. In order to truly be at peace with the past, I must accept it. True acceptance of the past will allow me to feel a genuine sense of love for the present.
If I am grateful for the state of the present, I will love the present. Gratitude is the only real reason that I can have for loving the present, and I cannot love the present if I am not grateful for it. My perception of the present when I am grateful will be characterized by a belief that everything about my current situation is as it should be. The anger of misery would have me believe that people, including myself, should be better, that my current situation will not allow me to be happy. When I am grateful, though, I love people because I know that they are much better than I know. When I see people do what I think is wrong, I believe that they are still good. I am grateful for myself because I believe that I am good. When I have done something that pains my conscience, I know that, because I am good, I can do better. I realize in my gratitude that to truly love unconditionally means to believe that, regardless of the wrong that I think is being done, everything truly is as it should be. The gratitude of love in the present will allow me to look to the future with faith.
Faith is the belief that all that is to come will be good. Understanding that the primary distinction between good and bad is my attitude, gratitude allows me to know that there is nothing that can come that can justify misery. When I accept the past and have love in the present, I begin to believe that there is nothing that life can present me with which I cannot find peace, so long as I choose to do so. The choice to be grateful has allowed me to accept the past, and acceptance of the past allows my present actions to be acts of love. These acts of love make it much easier to choose gratitude more consistently, making more solid my love for life and faith that life will not only continue to be bearable, but will also be enjoyable and pleasant. I fall into a habit of saying that life has become better or worse, but it has truly not done either. Though change is constant, life does not become better or worse, it simply becomes different. My perspective of life, my attitude, can become better or worse, but when I let myself believe that the difference of life causes this change in attitude, I set myself up to return to being miserable. If I am to remain grateful, I must remember that life does not become better or worse, but rather my attitude about the changes that life brings will affect my belief about the goodness of life. With gratitude, I can continue to believe that life is good.