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“Gratitude and disability in the same sentence?” you may be wondering. Absolutely. Truth be told we can find gratitude in any situation…good, bad, or indifferent. And disability is no exception.

The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common Latin origin – gratis, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful”.

Learning to practice gratitude is one of life’s most valuable lessons. As Aristotle taught us, all virtues have value and the virtue of gratitude helps to increase feelings of satisfaction with our lives and keeps us from falling into the excess of a greedy or entitled frame of mind.

Gratitude means you are not the center of the world. Gratitude means you will take time to help others at work or in their personal life. Gratitude builds great leaders.

Does gratitude eliminate all the daily challenges that are associated with living with a disability or caring for someone with a disability? Absolutely not. It will however reduce stress, allow you to shift your focus, and even turn a challenging day into a success. There is a silver lining to every cloud, a rainbow at the end of every shower, and a light at the end of the tunnel. These aren’t just sayings. They can be a part of your daily routine if you practice gratitude enough. What do I mean by “enough?” Well at the very least, at the start and end of each day…and necessary moments in between.

Healthy people with disabilities express gratitude for being healthy, people with progressive chronic illnesses express gratitude for not have gotten sicker than they have, and people with recurring or fluctuating chronic illness express gratitude for coming out of a relapse.

The expression of gratitude can have a positive influence in your life and in the lives of others with whom you interact.  Optimism can help you navigate difficult situations and improve advocacy outcomes.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

This week I am grateful for?


The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Lennard J. Davis (

Easy Stand blog (

Ability Coach (

Bender Consulting Services (

David Morrison, Endless Options for All Disabilities (

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