Gratitude (n.) — the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

The act of gratitude is something I’ve just recently honed in on through my personal and interpersonal growth. As a teen, it’s quite easy to get lost in the world of haves and have nots which end up clouding our ability to be grateful.

I look at gratitude as a mirror. One that I can see myself as I really am and show gratitude that all that I offer. In this mirror, I find relationships, both past, and present, clearly outlined for me to appreciate. This mirror of gratitude takes time to clean and understand, it isn’t easy to face when you haven’t been given the tools to do so. With awareness, acceptance, and love you can see every inch of your mirror and grasp exactly why it is all there.

When you are looking through this mirror with clarity, there is an understanding of both positive and uncomfortable elements in your life. There is equanimity in your graciousness, because you know life isn’t always easy. You don’t curse the universe for a bad hair day because you feel gratitude that you have hair on your beautiful head. You rejoice when the sun shines because you know that it is raining elsewhere and you have the pleasure of soaking in warm vitamin D.

But, because the sun is shining, doesn’t mean that you always have to go about life in a blur of smiles and rainbows. Gratitude does not ask that you plaster a smile on your face and repeat a mantra along the lines of“Everything is going to be okay.” It only asks that you try to find the silver lining on the rainy days and find the power within to not get caught up; to disassociate yourself from the narrative of the victim.

When we disconnect from the emotion of it all, we have an opportunity to look at life from the perspective of an outsider. The problems that were illuminated become dim and instead we are left with the abundance that is life.

Think about it this way: When you reach out to a friend in your time of need, do they wallow with you or do they offer positive support? Do they say: “Luckily, you still have XYZ” or do they act as if the sky is falling? When you take yourself outside the root of it all, you have a chance to look at your life like your good friend. You offer yourself that fresh outlook.

Practicing gratitude is exactly that, a practice in which we must devote time to every day. In the morning when you wake up, you instantly have a reason to be grateful. You are awake and ready to live another day. You are reborn to accomplish whatever you strive to accomplish in that moment. Each inhales and exhale, you thank your organs for keeping you healthy. You within yourself are magical and the ability to just be is something to be thankful for every day.