Gratitude and Loving the Ones You Love (Even When It Feels Impossible)


My relationships have seemed more challenging1 in recent years (actually, maybe all the years, but I think my tolerance for those challenges has fallen off more recently).

Sometimes, it’s just hard to love the people you love, you know?

I came across the best reminder for maintaining gratitude, even when your relationships are less than ideal. It’s by Berni Xiong in her book, The Year of the Brave Bear. She says, “I am grateful for my family. They’re not always the most encouraging, but they’ve never let me go hungry or homeless.”

There are times when I worry about the future of some of my relationships, times when I wonder if I even like some of them (so how in the world am I supposed to continue to love them?).

During those moments, it can be hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude, but (as much as I hate to admit it in certain cases), I know she’s right, and I could fill in the blank however I wanted: “They’re not always the most [fill in the blank], but they’ve never let me go hungry or homeless.”

I get frustrated with them (for many reasons — real or imagined, warranted or unwarranted), but I know that if the chips ever fell, I’d have a long line of people I could call for help in an hour of need.

Relationships are never perfect — Lord knows I’m not, but I hope the people I love know they can call on me if ever they needed, no matter how much I might drive them crazy or how imperfect things between us might seem at the time.

I know I can call on them, and that fact alone makes me grateful they’re in my life.

(Now if I could just figure out how to like them a little bit more. Baby steps.)


  1. I’ve written a little about relationships here and here.

About the author

E.H. Bellefontaine

Evangeline Henry Bellefontaine is the fictional writer behind Maison d'Evangeline (and More Beautiful Good on Medium). She writes mostly on the topics of bibliotherapy (books + therapy), personal growth, and doing the work. Follow by subscribing to Bibliothérapie.

By E.H. Bellefontaine

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