I’m So Lucky!

Four ice cream cones of various flavors
Photo credit: iStock.com

As today is Thanksgiving, I want to share a story about gratitude.

Years ago my mom worked with a man who had several children. The youngest, Julia, was doted over by the whole family. She had to go in to have her tonsils removed and her parents and siblings worried that she would be scared. So they dealt with it preemptively by talking about all of the good things that would happen before and after the surgery.

“You’ll get to stay home from school.”

“You’ll get to eat all of the ice cream and popsicles you want.”

And on and on.

They realized they may have overdone it when she finally proclaimed, “I’m so lucky!”

This story is one that my family has referenced often through the years. Like an inside joke, we sometimes say “I’m so lucky” in situations where we are facing something challenging. It brings a bit of levity into the situation and is also a reminder that there really is always something to be grateful for.

As neuroscientists are recognizing the many benefits of gratitude on our well-being they are also discovering that for some people, like Julia, gratitude comes more naturally. Research is identifying both genetic differences and brain differences in people who are naturally more grateful.

The good news though is that whether gratitude comes naturally or not, practicing gratitude can change our habits and maybe even rewire our brains—resulting in greater health and happiness.

Gratitude can look a lot of different ways. We may be grateful to a specific person. For some, gratitude is directed toward a higher power. But gratitude does not require a specific recipient. Like Julia, we can just feel lucky that we are going to get to eat lots of ice cream. Or we can feel fortunate that the causes and conditions came together for us to have a specific experience.

I feel this way about certain friendships. I have lifelong friendships with people that I feel lucky to have in my life. I made a choice to attend a professional training and that choice resulted in my meeting these people and developing these friendships that have and continue to be so important to me. That’s amazing! I can feel fortunate and grateful without directing that anywhere in particular. The right circumstances came together and I benefited and for that I’m grateful.

We may call this feeling gratitude, gratefulness, appreciation, or thankfulness…but for me, Julia said it best:
I’m so lucky!

There is no joy without gratitude.
Brené Brown


  1. Michele says:

    Brene Brown speaks to me on a regular basis! I know we’d be friends if we ever met. I do wonder where on the gratitude continuum I’d fall. I am only human so it is probably different on any given day. I tend to beat myself up on the days I am feeling resentful rather than feeling good about the days I am sufficiently grateful. We often view ourselves and our situations through the darkest lens. Time to let in the light. Yes, indeed. I, too, am so lucky..

    • melaniethornton says:

      Thank you, Michele, for reading and for your comment. We definitely can be hard on ourselves. It would be nice if we could extend as much compassion toward ourselves as we do toward others. You are one of the most positive and compassionate people I know. I’m so lucky to have you as a friend!

  2. Gladys says:

    I am also lucky that I met certain people and connected with some one a personal level, not just a professional level. Glad our paths connected and we can support each other in our journeys.

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