I have learned the power of gratitude along my journey. I am in some groups that recommend a "gratitude journal"--an ongoing list of things to be grateful for. Lately, I have challenged myself to look beyond the obvious blessings and the great things I have going on in life. I am trying to look at the pain in my life and see if it has resulted in anything to be grateful for. Choosing gratitude through pain--that is radical gratitude.
I don't think I will ever be grateful for the pain that others have inflicted onto me, or that I have inflicted onto myself. It hurt. It was wrong. It never should have happened. But as I grow older, I can look back and see if something worth being thankful for occurred because of that pain.
I am not thankful that I am an alcoholic. I was a jerk, unreliable, even dangerous at times. But I am thankful that I hit bottom very quickly and that I have friends who stayed with me through the ick. I am not thankful my dad was an alcoholic. But I am grateful that we were able to have a common language when we both entered into recovery.
I am not thankful for my depression. But I am thankful that in struggling, it brought me to find help. It also helps me connect with other people that are hurting. I am not thankful for disagreements I might have had with spiritual leaders. But I am thankful that now when I meet someone who has been hurt by religion, I have empathy and understanding and not judgement.
Practicing radical gratitude--finding something to be thankful for in the midst of pain--helps me battle my regrets and resentments. The less regrets and resentments I have, the more room I have for forgiveness.