Season 2 Episode 6: The Power of Gratitude

Season 2 Episode 6: The Power of Gratitude


Rob Lowe once said “We can never compare our insides with someone else’s outsides.” We never know how someone is truly feeling. We are all really great pretenders! “How are you?” “I’m good.” We move on. As you know, the state of our mental health/well being has been challenged and even in crisis for many. The world is listening and there is so much help out there.

Our first guests were a mother/daughter team, who truly know about the importance of gratitude from their own unique lenses. Waleuska Lazo, is an expert on emotional healing and habit formation. Waleuska is fascinated by the power of gratitude to transform pain into wisdom. She is an author of several self help books and creator of the FMTG Program; a 28 day online experience into forming new habits.

Waleuska began with a story about an angry man who complained about being so poor, that he couldn’t afford shoes. One day, he came across a man on the street who had no feet.  Yet, the man with no feet was so happy. When asked, “why are you so happy?” He said, “the sun is out and we are here to see it.” The angry man never felt angry again.  While he didn’t have shoes, he learned to appreciate what he had. This is ‘Gratitude’.

What is the difference between a happy person and someone who is not? Happy people find a way to be grateful for what they have. Most people wait to feel grateful until something positive happens to them, like gifts, or likes on social media. Don’t wait for something else to affect your feelings. You can feel gratitude without any external factors. You can choose to be happy by focusing on the things you already have.  

Then Waleuska shared some helpful techniques:

  1. Everyday before waking, put your hand on your heart and feel appreciation for someone or something you are grateful for in your life. This will make you feel happier. When you first begin to practice gratitude you may not see results right away.  For example, brushing your teeth, it takes a long time to see the difference. But if you stop, your teeth will decay. Gratitude works in the same way. It’s the consistency and accumulation that will give profound effects. 
  2. It’s about the little things, the things we may take for granted. Feel the gratitude for having electricity or clean water; something many people in the world are without! 
  3. Have the right perspective in finding “the good”. Learn to look at things from a different angle. Waleuska used the analogy of dirty eyeglasses. We need to clean glasses or else our vision  becomes blurry.
  4. Give gratitude from your heart and turn around your attitude. In life, there are always two ways to look at things: you can complain and feel victimized or you can be grateful. It’s your choice to choose!  

Remember the magic of gratitude! Everyday choose one thing to be grateful for, even in difficult times. 

We next met Waleuska’s incredible daughter, Emma Feldberg, who a is a 14-year-old Project Give Back alumni. Emma shared a very vulnerable and important lesson. She is a survivor of depression who bravely spoke about her journey back to health and the tools that helped to get her there. 

Last year, nothing was going well for Emma.  The three important factors in her life at the time, were her friends, family and school. But all she felt was despair.  Emma wanted to find a permanent solution, to end a temporary problem. Thankfully, she reached out for help and opted for therapy. She learned that life had purpose and meaning and shared lessons learned:

  1. No matter what is going on, ending your life is never the answer.
  2. Reach out for help, use therapy or talk to a trusted friend or adult. Therapy will give you tools and strategies to cope. 

These strategies helped Emma:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and act on them.  Don’t bury your emotions.
  2. Distract yourself through activities; watch a show, listen to music.
  3. When you feel like life has no purpose, it’s hard to be motivated. To regain that motivation, look forward to one little thing each day.                        

Emma summed up by saying,  “Remember you are never alone in these feelings.” Click here to learn more about Emma’s story:  

Next, we met a young and very talented singer/songwriter named, Mikalyn Hay. Her song ‘Sleepless Nights’ has streamed over 400,000 views in four months of its release.  In the Fall, Mikalyn released her newest original,  ‘Blame’ on Spotify. It’s a song about standing up for yourself and she performed that poignant and beautiful song for us tonight.

We were also joined by Bev Katz Rosenbaum who is the author of several books for young people. Her most recent being,  “I’m Good and Other Lies”.  The book is about a teen struggling with depression against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. This book packs a punch, as it deals with very real issues for young people, including substance abuse, depression and anger issues. The main character has to reach out for help and pull herself out of this mindset.  She does so and the story has a hopeful ending. 

Bev said that when we emerge from trauma and loss, you hear sayings like,  “it makes you stronger” or “it builds character”.  But, that is not always true.  On top of feeling sadness, you feel shame because you are not responding the way people tell you to. Bev feels that you need to focus on the good things in life.  However, it’s also okay to hold on to a little bit of sadness, if needed. It is Bev’s hope that the book will help other teens to realize that they are not alone in these feelings and to take trauma and make meaning out of it!

Final words from Lindsay @One2GiveTo provided us with a simple challenge: Give thanks to others, especially those who may go under the radar, like the crossing guard or the pharmacist. Lindsay’s challenge reflects Waleuska’s second technique; showing gratitude for the people who we often take for granted. 

Thank you to all of our special guests. We appreciate your wisdom and your honesty.  We hope tonight’s Episode helps so many of us who are struggling during this very difficult time. Just know, we will all be okay, and maybe even better!

We must remember to be kind to one another, to learn from one another and to embrace one another.

Wishing you a Happy and a Healthy New Year.  We are so grateful for all of you!