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How Gratitude Makes It Easier to Move On When Things Go Wrong

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie

Yesterday, while praying in the Ganges River, my purse got stolen.

Standing in The Holy River Ganges, praying up to my neck in her healing waters, the outside world felt as if it had stopped.

The feeling of happiness to be back in Rishikesh was so strong it bordered on invincible. Instant immersion into the healing waters of Maa Ganga was the only thing on my mind.

I had casually left my bag on the beach before going in the river. Since I had never had any problems here in previous trips, my guard was down.

India, a magnified mind mirror, reflects back exactly what I think about at lightening speed. It also has a knack of teaching me exactly what I need to learn.

Upon getting out of the river, I didn’t notice my purse was missing, because it had been piled under clothes and nothing seemed amiss.

Sitting on the beach, absorbing the feelings of my post prayer bliss, a dodgy Indian man approached, asking me if the beach was safe.

“That’s weird,” I thought. “Why is he asking me if the beach is safe?”

My internal alarm bell started ringing and I took it as a sign to check my belongings. Sure enough, my purse was gone.

Now what? Here is the real test. How do I respond?

Well, first, I went after the dodgy guy, assuming he was the thief, and told him to give me back my purse. He denied up and down that he knew anything about it.

After badgering him for a while to return the purse, I realized it was a lost cause.

Now what?

Searching the rocky beach, hoping maybe he had stashed it, seemed like a good idea, but there was no luck on that front either.

Two other western girls, who were sitting farther down the beach, kindly helped me to look for it after hearing my story.

No luck.

Feeling as though I had exhausted all possible options at the scene of the crime, the next logical step was to return to my room, call the bank, and cancel my ATM card.

In the purse was $100 worth of Indian Rupees, my ATM card, and both room keys. Amazingly, the rest of my cash and passport were still safe in my room.

Listening to the little inner voice that told me to leave them there, just prior to the beach excursion, was proving to be a massive blessing.

I had switched out the padlock on my room door with a lock I had brought, thinking it would be more secure, and both sets of keys were in my stolen purse.

Upon hearing the lost key predicament, the Ashram manager, without blinking an eye, set out to help break into my room.

It wasn’t an easy mission.

It took him about an hour of trying to saw through the un-sawable lock, until finally he decided to saw through the hardware on the door, which worked. I was able to enter my room, while the manager quickly ran to the market to buy new hardware for the door.

Meanwhile, I called my bank and cancelled my ATM card. The bank people were absolutely lovely, empathetic, and helpful.

My neighbor in the Ashram offered to make me a cup of tea, and the neighbors on the other side offered us some of their beautiful meal they had just cooked.

In the midst of my vulnerability, I felt supported on all sides!

Immediately, I began searching for the lesson in my purse getting stolen.

Acceptance, gratitude, humility, and letting go were the words that came.

Instead of focusing on what I had done wrong and beating myself up about it, I chose to focus on what was actually good:

  • I still had my phone and money I had left in my room.
  • I had a spare ATM card and credit card in the room.
  • I still had my passport.
  • Coincidentally, I had run into a friend the day before who remembered he owed me money, and it was the exact amount I just lost.
  • My neighbors were generous and kind.
  • The Ashram manager was lovely and helpful and didn’t bat an eye at destroying the door hardware.
  • The bank people were helpful.
  • The kind girls at the beach helped me search for my purse.
  • I had everything I needed!

After making this gratitude list, I realized how much I truly have, how blessed my life is, how many kind and generous people are in the world, and how I am always provided for.

Sometimes the lowest times are what make us stronger.

Coming to India always shakes me out of my comfort zone, and this was no exception. I am still absorbing the lessons, and they are powerful ones:

  • This experience has made me want to give more.
  • It has made me realize I only need to take with me what I need.
  • I felt the vulnerability of having nothing for a short period of time, and that made me want to help others.
  • It showed me my inner progress: I didn’t panic. I didn’t beat myself up. I don’t feel like a victim and am not blaming the person who stole my purse.
  • It snapped me back into respect—respect for all that I have and respect that there are people that have a lot less. It reminded me to treat all people as equal regardless of their financial status.
  • It reminded me to give others not only what I can monetarily, but also acknowledge the presence in others, by giving them my full attention.
  • It also reminded me that have a choice where I focus my thinking and attention; I can choose to accept the things I can’t change, and have the courage to change the things I can.

What happened, happened. Now I have a choice to learn the lessons and receive the gold out of the situation.

Today I went back to the same beach to do my prayers in the river. This time I didn’t take anything with me except my change of clothes, bringing only bare essentials. Keeping a close watch on my bag, I didn’t let yesterday’s event tarnish my heartfelt love for this place.

Feeling blessed, grateful, and humbled to be in Mother India again, I feel love for the people here, and especially the ones who have nothing.

The Power of Gratitude is Astonishing

It’s amazing how gratitude can shift your perspective when things go wrong. The next time you face a challenging situation, hit your internal pause button, breathe, and survey the situation. Don’t panic.

Ask yourself, what can I do right now? What is the number one priority?

Accept that what has happened, happened. Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do. Drop resistance and fighting what is and instead focus on what you can do now.

Focus on what’s good in the situation. Ask yourself, what are the lessons to be learned from this? And make a gratitude list as fast as possible.

Talk about the good that came from the event rather than constantly repeating a negative story to others. Integrate the lessons, let it go, and move on.

About Polly Green

Polly is a psychic medium, breath worker, award winning documentary filmmaker, athlete, and adventurer. She facilitates light workers, therapists, and wellness professionals to integrate their blockages, raise their vibration, connect clearly to source energy, and uncover and develop their latent psychic potential. For more information about Polly’s psychic and breathwork visit afirewithinmovie.com. Her filmmaking: flairfilms.com.

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  • Absolutely beautiful article… and I mean that with no disrespect to what happened, but as a sign of what gratitude can do.

    I normally recite out gratutude affirmations in the car driving to work. The only thing was, I had gotten into the habit of saying the words without meaning.

    Well, recently that changed, I said it with meaning, and felt a little bit more better, and more healthier as well (It’s amazing how negativity can make you feel really unhealthy). Thanks for writing this peace.

    Out of interest, what are your feelings in gratitude with the law of attraction?

  • Davina

    Thanks for sharing this unfortunate incident and the good that you managed to take away from it. I just had my bag stolen from a bar this past week and felt very similar thoughts. I’ve been angry at myself for letting it happen, angry at the bar staff for not seeing it happen, and angry at the people around my table with me who just sat there and did nothing to help me look for my bag. What happened happened, I have to now focus on the good like you said; the fact that I’d taken my phone out of the bag and had it in my hand, the fact the bar manager helped with the cctv and got his staff even looking in the rubbish bins, the friendly couple of strangers who sat with me for an hour when they saw how visibly upset I was, and have since kept in touch to see that I was ok. It’s acts of kindness like this that is helping me through this.

  • Justme

    A year ago, I made a HUGE leap of faith… I sold my house and many possessions, paid off all of my debt, quit my job and moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone, nor did I have a job. At first it was great. I met some new friends and even fell in love for the first time in my life. It so fun and amazing in many ways. Then, my “friends” suddenly turned on me and essentially ghosted me by refusing any contact whatsoever. I think it was related to jealousy over my new love interest but I’m not sure because they just dropped me. The person I fell in love with was going through a very difficult time in her personal life including a divorce and caring for sick family members. Because of this, I did not push for a romantic relationship because I felt she needed time. She was 100% aware of my feelings for her, and we spent countless hours together for 10 months. Finally, I began to think (or realize, I’m not sure which). That she does not have romantic feelings for me and that she was just using me during her time of need. I’m sure my constant love and attention felt good or at the very least flattering. Anyway, here I am a year later with nothing – no friends, no love, and a broken spirit. I am so hurt and angry (mostly at myself for being so open, trusting, and loving to people who treated me so wrong.) I am broken, ashamed, and completely alone. I am trying to find the lessons, but all I feel is distrust and depression. I don’t know what to do or where to turn. Any suggestions?

  • Thank you Julian for your comment! Yes you are very right. The words without feeling are just words. I suggest cultivating the feeling of gratitude in your heart first and then saying the specific things you are grateful for. I fully believe that we create our own reality by our thoughts. What ever we put out and expect is what we get back. With the law of attraction it is very important to believe that what you are wanting is possible for you and feel it as if it is already reality. Fake it until it comes. Believing you already have it gets you into the feeling you are actually wanting from having the external thing you are asking for. The feelings are available now. Cultivating gratitude for the things you already have and focusing on this everyday raises your vibration and makes you more available and receptive to more good things coming into your life. I hope this helps!

  • HI just Me- Thanks for writing and sharing. I can empathise with you and understand how this must feel to be completely deserted and alone. My feeling is that it has happened to get you to go deeper within yourself. You are alone for a reason. No one outside of you can give you what you are wanting. This can only come from you and a connection to a source bigger than you. Call it whatever you want. Source energy is what I call it. Infinite and unconditional love will only ever come from here and from within you for you. This is the biggest lesson we will ever learn here in this life time. The fact that you have been deserted is forcing you to realize this. All be it in a harsh and drastic way. The biggest freedom we will ever have is realizing that we don’t need anyone to make us happy or love us. We come into this life alone and we die alone. It is our job to take responsibility for our lives and give ourselves the love we are wanting others to give us. We are not victims. Reclaim your power, dig deep, go within and start cultivating unconditional love for yourself. Begin a new relationship with you. Ask yourself what do you enjoy doing? and then go do it. Alone! There is such beauty in this. Finding inner peace and contentment within ourselves is our job and the only real way this will ever come. Friends and relationships come and go. They are mirrors for where we are within ourselves. How have you been deserting yourself? How have you been not a great friend to yourself? This is where the truth is. Take a deeper look and shine the light here. Reclaim your power. Chose to fully live and love yourself first. When this is solid you will realize that either way you are ok. You wont need anyone outside of you to give you this because you already have it. You are whole and complete right now! Making a gratitude list of what is good right now will also help. Examples: your health, a roof over your head, hot water, food, freedom, etc. I hope this helps!

  • Fantastic Davina! This is great news! We are not victims. Finding the blessings will turn it around. I firmly believe this is why these things happen. To shake us up and wake us up. Now I have gratitude everyday when I have my purse and ATM cards! Everything is replaceable. And by staying positive and seeing the gifts we reclaim our power. Well done!

  • Great reply! And don’t forget, in the realm of Quantum physics, everything is in a state of possibilities, you just have to tap into conscioussness which is the, ‘doorway’, which is feelings. Keep feeling the feeling, until it manifests into your conscious attention. Thanks for the reminder;-)

  • Victory IS MINES

    God is real this message from Polly spoke to my psyche, heart, and the ability I have to Look above and beyond what someone tries to do me wrong. I had surgery recently and my PCP keeps telling me I need to speak with the surgeon. Sp every time I had made an appt, the surgeon staff found some way to say I didnt show up. So we troed this again and the primary would come with me. I arrived first. The primary asked why wasnt I inside? She looked at the door and they had scheduled me for after closing hours. I only wanted to speak with the surgeon who operated on my back to get true details pf what he saw and my likelihood of any other complications down through the years.

    I was hurt, paranoid, didnt understand what was the cause. The doctors reaction was so meek and mild but also said she would be mad. I couldnt tell if she knew this was gonna be the outcome or she just want to stay out of it.

    But as i pulled myself together, i decided to let it go. And focus on my recovery. Because I do believe thay others’ energy can wish you harm, which in my case keeping me stressed so that I dont recover under positive expectations.

    As I made my mind up to focus on a new form of therapy, and some other things, this lady walks in from the rain with her hands extremely full and lost. With my walker, i asked if she would like to drop her things on it. She was confused but I assured her I could lead her there with less stress and she thought we were goin in the same place but all that other foolishness was not gonna stop me from my human kindness. Something this institution has forgotten how to reach inside and find for its patients.

  • Pam Lame

    Hi justme,
    I can so totally relate to what you are going through and like you, I felt so lost and deserted and completely unloved. My husband of 16 years told me he wanted a divorce, and that sent me into a total tailspin, it was so unexpected and so confusing. I have a best friend who I thought I could to about this and the first thing she said is she didn’t want to take sides, which is not something I would ask anyone to do. But after that, she quit communicating with me at all, it was like she slammed the door in my face and that was that. And there was no one else for me to talk to, no family, just no one at all. It was very scary for me and I thought for a while I would lose my mind dealing with all that grief. Nothing made sense in my life anymore and for the first time in my life I thought about ending it all. That was when I realized what all that negative thinking was doing to me. I went for nearly two months without talking to a soul. The only reason I even went to the store was because I had my pets depending on me and it wasn’t their fault,
    I went deeper and deeper into that void, terrified of trusting anyone, and thinking truly that my life was over. I tried so hard to understand what had happened to me, or what had I done to deserve this, angry at God and everyone else. I just couldn’t figure it out and I spent most of my time rehashing every little detail and reliving over and over again that pain, I was getting physically sicker as well and almost welcomed it thinking that it was okay because then I could die without doing it to myself, like it wasn’t my own fault that I was sick. And then something inside changed. I realized at that moment that I was the only one left on this earth who really gave a hoot about me, and I decided I would start to care for myself better than anyone else ever could. And even then, in my mind I was thinking, that’ll show em, I don’t need them anyway, none of them!
    It was in that moment though, when I decided to care for myself that I began my way back through all the hell. I had a decent meal, and I slept that night so well,and slowly I started to gain my health again and I started to feel almost like a smile deep inside. Like my whole body was trying to break out into smiles. And I realized that it didn’t matter what had happened, it didn’t matter why it happened, I didn’t have to understand it, it just was. And I could make the choice to stay there in my misery or I could dig my own way out. That was without a doubt the worst experience of my life, the scariest and the most dangerous as well. But it took that much pain and fear and loss to learn what it is I’ve had to learn, and even now, I’m not done with the healing, and I have some trust issues left over as well, but it’s so hard to explain, I feel like it took all that to take my life from just day to day normal, and make it into something extraordinary. I see beauty and joy and yes, even sorrow, I see through different eyes these days, and I know that I will never be able to go back to just ordinary anymore..
    The worst thing that ever happened to me in my life is also the best thing that ever happened to me and life is meant to be joyous, we are not on this earth to be miserable, and that is the lesson. So simple, yet so profound, we are here to live and experience new things, to grow and to find joy in everything. And we always have ourselves and with that we have always got a choice to be happy or not. I choose happy. I choose peace. It’s there for you too. And you are not JUST ME. You are Beautiful Me, Awesome Me, so live it!

  • I am so excited that you have put into words this true key to happiness. I recently lost a loved one and I quickly moved from sadness into gratitude. This was a change from past unwanted situations and it has been the most beautiful “crisis”. Lovely words. Thank you

  • Gratitude has this special power of making you look beyond your imperfections and look at what you currently have. This way, you shift your perspective from what you lack to what you have to gain.

  • Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s webpage link
    on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar for you.

  • Audrey
  • Very true Daikuro! And what we have is so abundant always!

  • Thank you for sharing Cecily! SO beautiful to come into gratitude especially with the passing of a loved one. They are still close and the love can be just as strong if not stronger. So amazing to come into acceptance and peace! Gratitude is such a blessing.

  • Well done Victory! Stay in gratitude and reclaim your power! Beautiful that you can also be of service even with your injury. Thank you for sharing and keep on shining!

  • Justme

    Who are you?

  • Greta Lamfel

    I absolutely love this post and I share the same sentiments about gratitude. Gratitude turns a seemingly bad situation into something we can live with. When we look for the positives in the awful situation, we are able to overcome.

    Greta,
    Founder of Healthy Living

  • Victor

    Sounds like you are on the brink of the dark night of the soul. And that’s not a bad thing. But you must surrender all of the pain, the shame, the guilt…all of it. Release all the angst out into the universe, to be transformed. First and foremost, forgive. Forgive yourself and then those who have done you wrong. And then start anew. With a fresh outlook. Tune inward and know that the universe is having a conversation with you. Pay attention…your good vibrations, your frequency is resonating out there, and you will be aligned with your true authentic self once the darkness is gone. And let the light shine bright…for all to see!

  • Justme

    Thank you, Victor. I am trying to get through this storm and praying that there will be a rainbow when its over. Working on a fresh outlook – as well as surrendering my current outlook. Right now my vibe is not good – I know that has to change. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Dark night of the soul sounds scary, but hopefully it will make the sun shine brighter when it returns.