Be Grateful for Your Challenges This Thanksgiving

November 21, 2022 Joanna Satterwhite

This isn't one of those stock Thanksgiving blogicles where I waste 500 words tossing around washed-up phrases about how "gratitude is an attitude." It's much worse than that. I'm going to try to challenge your notion of gratitude altogether. I said early on in my HealthyPlace journey that I wasn't going to try to convince anyone of anything, but we all knew I was lying. So let me be explicit about this: I want you to leave this post believing that gratitude isn't just for the things in your life that are working. I want you to walk away feeling grateful for the challenges in your life that aren't. 

Why Be Grateful for Your Challenges?

Opposites Don't Attract Each Other; They Create Each Other

If you follow my writing at all, you know I'm a broken record on the concept of duality, but it's for a good reason. Things can only exist in light of their polar opposite. Darkness is understood by the presence of light, life by the presence of death. Something can't exist without nothing, and good requires evil. Reality is built on these opposing forces holding each other up and, indeed, creating each other. If you can swallow this odd pill even for a few hours, the world will look brand new. In the true embrace of duality, resentment, fear, and judgment all fade at the realization that all things have their place. 

Duality, per se, might just blow your socks off, but wait until you apply it to yourself. Everything you think you're not? It's deeply baked into whatever it is you think you are. Your identity requires the things you despise, doubt, or disavow as badly as it requires what you love, believe, and espouse. The odd pill has become a difficult pill, but the medicine is the same. You exist on friction and tension. You are what you aren't. 

Thanking Your Challenges

So what's any of this got to do with Thanksgiving? Well, if you're one of the rare few left in the nation that believes Thanksgiving has symbolic value beyond being the day before Black Friday, then you may actually be inclined to vocalize thankfulness for this and that at some point this week.

When you do, I urge you to consider thanking some of your challenges or even some of the things you think you hate. You might choose your job, your political foes, or your unexpected dentist bill (this one's personal). All of these things that give you headaches and heartburn are making you into what you are. If you can really get down with this, you might even see that the difficulties in your life are the only opportunity you have to move closer to who you'd like to become. Your challenges aren't just a pain in your neck. They're the way forward.      

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2022, November 21). Be Grateful for Your Challenges This Thanksgiving, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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