2020 has been such a trying year at a global level that it is understandable we want it to come to an end. The consequences of the pandemic have had a wide reach in many spheres of our lives. It might be hard to connect with the feeling of gratitude when we are experiencing losses. There is an opportunity to discover the deeper meaning in the disturbing, unsettling events that are happening in our individual lives and the world.
I am presenting the two types of gratitude and how we can experience them in the context of job loss. gratitude-for, and gratitude-In.
It is easy to experience gratitude for all our blessings.
It is easy to engage with the first type of gratitude, gratitude-for. We give blessings for all the good we have in our lives: Our beloved ones, family, and friends who are there to share their love and support. We also give thanks for the material things that make our lives more comfortable, including having a place to live, food on the table, transportation, and a job that provides income to fund our needs and more.
How can we experience gratitude in a loss?
Gratitude-in requires us to be willing to see the good in the face of apparent adversity. It is about having the capacity to be grateful in whatever life throws at us that can bring us increased awareness and a new perception of our human existence. For instance, losing a job is one of the most stressful experiences in life. Yet, we can learn to see the good and find the silver lining so we can experience this type of gratitude-in.
Experiencing gratitude-in whatever we are facing open our perception to a more expanded awareness of a greater good hidden in the adversities.
Josh lost his job in what he thought was the worst time of his life. His wife was ill with cancer. During those difficult days, he managed to take charge of their three children while the wife was fighting for her life. Being unemployed allowed him to become a caretaker for his wife, take the kids to school, serve them meals, and support them with homework. Unfortunately, his wife did not survive, and he became a full-time dad. Losing his wife helped him to put his job loss in perspective. While her passing was irreversible, his job loss was not. He could find another job, even a better one. With this new insight, he put renewed energy into his job search. He landed a better job and funded his family’s needs for years to come. Inspired by the love for his children, he managed to overcome such a trying time in his life, discovering emotional resilience and a greater sense of purpose.
Overcoming a job transition gives you a sense of personal accomplishment and strength. Now you know you can overcome anything because you have done it before.
There was a time I was grateful that I lost my job. I used to have an international rotator job that kept me going for six weeks at a time. I remember coming home so exhausted that it would take me days to recover. When I lost that job due to redundancy, part of me was feeling relieved. At that time, my daughter was starting graduate school in the UK. I traveled with her and she appreciated that I was available to assist her in getting settled. The transition gave me some breathing time to reflect on my career journey. When the next offer came, I was confident to accept. The job allowed me to tap into my international experience with only occasional travel. Looking back, I was so relieved to lose that job at a time when I was truly burnout from being a rotator.
If you can put aside your fears and anxieties, rather than the worst thing, losing your job could be the best thing that ever happened to you!
Ree lost his job a week before Thanksgiving. He was facing a bad situation at work with a hostile boss and unfriendly coworkers. Part of him was relieved, but the other part was worried. He recalls the sense of shame and guilt when sharing the news with his wife and kids. As others were in a celebratory spirit, he was worried about what was coming ahead, especially facing Christmas with a very tied budget and the uncertainty of not knowing how long it would take him to get another job. After the holidays, he found the clarity and courage to pursue a career change that allowed him more freedom and to do the work he truly was called for.
Losing a job is disruptive, but it could be the push you need to seek for a better situation.
We may experience many kinds of transitions in our life journey. Some are wanted, pleasant, expected, and some are unwanted and unexpected.
There are inherent opportunities in each transition, like when I was grateful that I had lost that job as a rotator.
If you had lost your job, feel grateful to have the time and space to consider other possibilities that will help you to grow in different directions. Then you can find within you more capacity. You will understand yourself much better. You can connect with those talents and gifts that are seeking to emerge through you.
I shared about the two types of gratitude that will bring you closer to your best version. Are you are willing to surrender to each experience in your life without denying or confronting them, even when they feel uncomfortable? Trust the process of change that is a sign it is time to move on and to move forward.