When I go out jogging in the morning, I sometimes notice how much weather influences people's response to life and to one another. When it is gray and rainy, many people look unhappy. When the sun is out and the temperature and humidity are comfortable, people are smiling and calling out to one another, "Hello, isn't it a lovely day." For me, a lovely day is any day I wake up. If I'm awake, I'm grateful to be alive and to have another day to experience life.
I speak as a realist, not an optimist. I know that the longer I live, the more problems I will have. So what is there to be grateful for? I am grateful every day for the opportunity to have more problems, to learn how to live with them and rejoice in them. That is enough, but there is more to be thankful for. Every day is another opportunity to love and interact with God's creation, and on some days to be a cocreator.
The weather or the events of the day do not determine whether I am grateful for my life on that day. Every time I jog through the world, I am awed by what I find. On a winter morning, when it seems too cold and slippery for safe jogging or bicycling, I can still go out and experience the glory of sunlight turning icy branches into strings of sparkling diamonds. . . .
If your gratitude depends on what life gives you or what other people do for you or to you, you will be disappointed more often than you are grateful.
But you can learn to feel grateful by rethinking your attitude towards life. First, remember that contentment lies in giving. If you know that giving is better than receiving, then you can feel grateful for what you are able to give others. This does not mean you ignore your own needs. You will decide what to give and how to give it, and then at the end of the day you will be grateful for having had the chance to give in your own way. Remember, we all have something to give, and our ability to give is not related to our finances or physical strength.
Second, be grateful simply for being alive. When you are grateful for life, pure and simple, your life becomes one you can be grateful for. That may strike you as circular or even backward logic, but your attitude really does have an effect on how things work out. When you can't change your life and other way, you can still change your attitude. When you do, your life changes. You find more chances to love, and you will be surprised to se how much more love is returned to you.