Desoto County News

McNary: The Audacity of Gratitude: From Melancholy to Radiance

By Loretta McNary

One thing I understand for sure is that at times, even the brightest mind can wrestle with a ton of sadness and appear to be filled with joy simultaneously. From personal experiences, I can attest that deep within our souls, there are moments when my problems feel a bit heavier, and the sun’s warmth seems to be extremely distant. Furthermore, I believe we can all agree that it is easy to brim with happiness when things are going our way, but it becomes more difficult to exude positivity when life takes an unexpected turn, and our gratitude feels as far away as the moon.

Loretta McNary

Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that we have faced melancholy as well. And for me it has happened several times at different seasons in my life. What I know now is in those very moments of sadness, when the various issues of humanity seem to be hanging on my shoulders, I have a secret weapon – gratitude. It’s our beacon of light, waiting to overtake the clouds and breathe new life into our weary souls. 

During one of my entangled moments with what felt like the heaviest moments of despair, I cried and cried due to the enormity of grief, a small still inaudible voice reminded me that the word melancholy ends with the word holy. OMG! That revelation is still music to my soul. 

Oftentimes, one of the keys to overcoming our toughest moments in life is remembering to always embrace hope and gratitude in every step we take. By focusing on all the good in our life, it dulls the pain of melancholy.

Gratitude is not just about being grateful for the good times. It’s about finding the glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. It is all about acknowledging that even in the middle of tough days there are lessons, there is perhaps a new way of solving the problem and there are people who care and love us.

Let’s go on an adventure together, of transformation, discovering seven vibrant steps that will lead us from a place of uncertainty to a future shimmering with hope and gratitude. When gratitude becomes our lifeline, it’s a force that can turn even the highest mountain into opportunities for growth and positive change.

 Here are my seven steps for turning melancholy into radiance:


Acknowledge your feelings, for they are the steppingstone needed to guide you towards your highest level of expression. Dive in and let the audacity of hope carry your forward to peace. Emotions serve as our internal compass, guiding us through life’s twists and turns. Recognizing and honoring them is a vital step towards self-discovery and emotional well-being.


Practice mindfulness in the present moment, and you will find the seeds of your greatest victories just waiting to be discovered. Picture mindfulness as a genetic pause button for life. It’s taking a moment to really taste that cup of tea, feel the warmth on your face, and let the world slow down and just breathe. Give it a try—you might find a whole new way to soothe your soul.


Seek support and connection. We are not meant to walk alone, because the harmony of hope is sweeter when shared with others. However, if you are like me, you were taught that asking for help is not independence. Which is contrary to what I am currently learning; asking for help or allowing others to help you is an overlooked superpower. It is not a sign of weakness, but a testament to your courage and wisdom. Just like the stars in the sky, the more stars that shine in the night, the brighter the sky becomes.


Remind yourself of past triumphs, for they are the constellations in your sky, just waiting to guide you towards your next victory. Looking back over our life is likened to a rearview mirror to our soul, where we can see the breathtaking sunset of how far we have come on this journey called life. Let’s use those moments to inspire us to keep on going until we reach our goals.


Set your expectations higher and celebrate your progress. Each step we take brings us closer to our authentic self and carries us closer to a future filled with potential and endless possibilities. I equate this approach to aiming for the moon and landing among the stars. When we raise the bar, we invite growth, change and the probability of unlocking our fullest potential. And I can assure you, the view from the highest height is the most beautiful! Just look up.


Not only does your body need healthy foods, movement, and rest, so does your mind. Think of your mind as a garden, you are the gardener, be intentional with every thought, every book you read and be sure to take the time to rest your mind. Spend time in silence, no distractions. This soothes both the mind and soul. And allows us to bloom in our individual brilliance. 

With gratitude as our North Star, let’s keep moving to turn our melancholy into radiance.

Here is one of my favorite quotes by the amazing Maya Angelou: “The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.” 

Loretta McNary is the Lifestyles contributor to website and social media channels. You will be seeing her columns on a weekly basis here on the website and be sure to catch “The Loretta McNary Show” on her channels, including YouTube, Facebook, her website, and others.

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