On Being Grateful When Life’s Not So Great: Thanksgiving Edition

November 26, 2014

Let’s talk for a minute about being grateful.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, being grateful means feeling gratitude.

To be specific: Grateful: Of persons, their actions and attributes: Feeling gratitude; actuated by or manifesting gratitude; thankful.

If you look up the description of gratitude, you’ll find it means: The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

These may be good descriptions, but they don’t seem like enough.

Instead, it seems to us that being grateful has more to do with active choices than with passing feelings; more to do with a calm serenity or composure than with a simple cause-effect reaction; more to do with the person who is grateful, than whatever it is they’re grateful for.

Truth be told, it’s T-O-U-G-H to stay grateful.

Our lawyers often work very long days — they do love fighting for the good people they met and represent after all. But after so many days spent in hotel rooms across the country,  after so many days trying, and trying, and trying again to find a way to help someone whose story struck a nerve, no matter no much our lawyers want to help, after so many days spent tugging along, it’s easy to get a negative spin on things going.

People tend to joke about lawyers, especially trial lawyers, about how tough, dramatic and insert your favorite jab-here they are but after years of working with some of the best trial lawyers in the country at Baron and Budd, the common thread we’ve found is passion. Our lawyers are passionate, they believe in what they’re doing, in who they’re fighting for and they believe they can make a difference with their clients.

But sometimes passion has its dark side. Because, in a life lived passionately, there are always ups and downs.

We try to keep this in mind with those we represent. We know many of you are going through a hard time — thus the need for an individual lawsuit or class action in the first place. We try to keep in mind that even our most passionate clients, even our clients who are just as committed as we are to doing what they can to stop the injustice that is asbestos exposure on the job or failed mesothelioma diagnosis after failed mesothelioma diagnosis because patients never knew they were once exposed — the clients we represent who are just as committed to fighting and banning asbestos as we are, they’re pretty even-keeled, actually.

Perhaps you can say the best lawyers in the world are those who remain calm under pressure (actually, that’s a perfect description). We’ve found the same for the best clients and fighters that we assist in making things right.

And now that Thanksgiving is here and everyone is talking (- or should be talking!) about what makes them grateful, well, you could say some light bulbs have flashed.

Because it seems like the most grateful clients of all are also the most even-keeled, the most cool and collected and able to weather the storm.

Now, if you’re a lawyer and need help keeping that “passion” under check, we’d advise you to follow the tip below. But even more, we encourage the clients and patients we know to give our tip a listen. Because they might help you more than you’d imagine.

Here’s the tip: Find value in the small things.

Because, lord knows, you could be having a bad day, week or even year; your whole world could seem like it’s crashing down… but you know what? Sugar still tastes sweet and the sun still warms your face. There are small pieces of pleasure in this world. Find and hold onto them. Feel grateful for them… and as the time keeps ticking, you just may be able to find even more gratefulness for the bigger things in life.

The truth is, you don’t need a fabulous life to feel grateful. But you do need a meaningful, passionate life. And if you’re a client working with us to fight your injustice… we’ll you’ve got meaning and passion covered!

So here’s a toast all of you — the people we’re most grateful for this holiday. Thanks for keeping us in line. Thanks, too, for bringing meaning to our lives.