Happy Gratitude Day to all who celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday today or any day.
I have so much to be thankful for I hardly know where to begin or end, but instead of forcing my gratitude list down your throat (don’t tempt me, I’ll do it!) I thought I’d unpack some of the gratitude myths (a polite word for bullshit) I’ve heard over the years, and throw in some truths… so you can enjoy the real magic of gratitude.
Here are some Gratitude Myths:
1) Gratitude is not a SHOULD. No one has the right to tell you what you “should” be grateful for. Do we all have something in our lives worthy of gratitude? I believe we do. But what’s worthy of your gratitude is your call. Always. No exceptions.
And by the way… even in instances when we are unappreciative, entitled brats (it happens!), reality has a very strong tendency to remove the stuff we don’t appreciate. Reality is a great teacher that way.
2) Gratitude is not a cure for other, uncomfortable feelings. We are complex, emotional creatures. It is NORMAL to have mixed feelings during difficult times, and we are perfectly capable of feeling grateful while scared, broken-hearted, homicidal, and even desperately unhappy. (I know this from personal experience.) Gratitude HELPS us process difficult experiences, but anyone who tells you that you can’t feel gratitude and [fill in the blank] at the same time is either lying to you or profoundly not self-aware. And we do NOT want gratitude to cancel out those other feelings that alert us to dangerous or unhealthy situations!
3) Gratitude is not contingent. This is a biggie: gratitude has next to nothing to do with your external circumstances. Gratitude is a choice. We make it up. We can just as easily apply it to past, present, and future. We create our own stories to justify the gratitude.
Here are some Gratitude Truths.
1) Gratitude increases itself. The more you look, the more you’ll find. And while it may not cure you of misery right away, over the long term it is probably your very best practice for cultivating long term happiness.
2) Gratitude makes you more resourceful. The very act of looking for silver linings accelerates problem solving and enhances feelings of optimism. It’s like an “ON” switch for your frontal cortex (the genius part of your brain).
3) Gratitude is Love. “I am grateful for” is another way of saying, “I love this.” The more we find to love, including love for some of our most difficult learning experences, the more loved we feel… and feeling loved feeds our feelings of worthiness, safety, and courage to create the lives of our dreams.
Some final words on Gratitude:
I really do believe that gratitude is like casting a magic spell that makes you more resourceful, receptive, and attractive to experiences you desire.
At the same time, we don’t want to use it as spiritual bypass to ignore the things we need to change in our lives, or to sit out on taking action.
Instead let’s use gratitude to discern the VALUE in all of our life experiences, in order to keep the gifts and release the rest.
Any comments or thoughts on gratitude in your own life? Or maybe you want to share some things you’re grateful for? Bring it on! Please post below.
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