I used to think it was impossible to feel grateful.

I was caught up in a cycle of misery because I focused on everything and everyone that was wrong in my life. This created a negative outlook.

What did I have to be grateful for?

I had shelter, food and a glimmer of hope. Rotating through life in the foster care system for over 16 years took a toll on my self-esteem, however I did not let it hold be down.

I wish I could tell you the exact day the light came on inside me and I knew I had to make a change. I don’t remember. What I do remember is the fear and being afraid. Afraid to be happy, afraid to say I mattered, afraid to be myself, afraid of life.

I made the decision to start working on my mind – where I focused my thoughts – and began to focus on what was good in my life.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

For the first time, I felt in control. I made the choice, because it is a choice, to be positive, to be grateful and be happy. When I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life, everything in my world started to change . . . for the better.

Gratefulness is a strength you are building each time you push through your self-imposed limits. The first thing you will notice is that you lived through the experience! The second thing you will notice is a new found confidence to do whatever it is you set your mind to doing.


It’s when you focus on what you have rather than what you don’t.

Most days I come across people who are complaining about one thing or the other – about how life has treated them unfairly or about how they would be happier if they had more things. Through experience I know money doesn’t buy you happiness; it is a resource that should be used to enhance your experiences. The real value in life is self-love, and meaningful relationships.

It’s important to have gratitude for the small things in life and appreciate what you have now, instead of running after what you don’t have. You can miss out on the simple joys and pleasures of life, if you are focused on what you don’t have. It may cause jealously and resentment, because someone may have what you think you should have or be entitled to.

Enjoy the little things,

for one day you may look

back and realize they

were the big things. – unknown

Today my gratitude centers around the big things in my life, such as family and friends, serving others through my work, warm socks, running water, coffee, more coffee, meeting new friends, and the gift of a new day.

It’s a choice to be happy and grateful for who you are. Let the people in your life know they matter and be grateful for what they are reaching you.

Sing in the shower, smell a flower, play with your pets, walk in nature, look at the clouds and be thankful for your ability to see them. Don’t be afraid to play in the rain and simply express gratitude for being alive.


  • Bonnie Milletto

    Motivational Speaker/Emcee, Author, Youth Advocate, Actor/Model, Voice Over Artist

    Drawing from years of experience as an on-camera host and live event hosting, Bonnie is a dynamic personality and highly sought after resource for speaking, event coordination, acting and voice over artistry. Founder/Creator of the Amazing You Empowerment Conference,┬áBonnie is the published author of 'Dedicated To The Cup, Nine Ways To Improve A Life!' and the most recent guidebook to action for youth and young adults, 'Been There, From Stuck To Unstoppable.' Bonnie is a top media source on personal empowerment, youth challenges and life success. When this best friend, mom, wife and entrepreneur is not on stage or on air, you will find her in her second home - a nature trail exploring a new adventure.