All about gratitude right now, eh?
I'm betting you have an inbox filled with newsletters, updates and blog posts around the topic of Gratitude right now. It is the month of Thanksgiving, at least here in the U.S, after all.
As I’ve been thinking about this topic and what gratitude means to me, I’ve started to explore the theme from a little bit of a different angle.
Gratitude as covert shaming
You see, sometimes when people talk about gratitude, it is done in a way that can lean towards shaming... especially when it’s said: "You should be grateful for what you have" or "Focus on what you are grateful for and you'll feel better." I really don't think it's meant this way, but it sure comes across that way to me at times.
While it's true that focusing on what we are grateful for will, in fact, shift our perspective. The way we are often redirected to gratitude doesn't work for me. Maybe you feel the same way?
Don't get me wrong
I have so much to be grateful for this year. I have had the chance to travel across the US (a number of times) and internationally, to both Europe and the Caribbean. I've met dozens and dozens of amazing people. The work I do channeling the Greater Consciousness and transitioned souls is sacred. It is an honor and a privilege. I am truly grateful.
But I’ve been thinking...
What if how we view gratitude has an impact on how we feel about ourselves? If it feels like a "should" or a "obligation" then I am not sure it's really good for us.
Many of us spend so much of our lives "shoulding" all over ourselves. Why do we think that forcing ourselves to be grateful will have a positive impact on our lives?
As I contemplate this, I realize that if I am able to look at gratitude as an act of self-care, things feel so much more in alignment to me. This means that I focus on those things in my life that I can truly get to the grateful feeling about.
Then I make a list. I let those things marinate and percolate within me. I also make a list of things that I feel I "should" be grateful for but, in the moment, don’t feel that I can fully step into that truth.
Here's the thing...
I don’t use the second list to beat myself up or judge myself for not being in the place of gratitude that I "should" be. In fact, instead, I take each item on the list and search for even that one little piece of gratitude I can find. An excavation exercise. A loving way to explore and experience gratitude even within the areas that I don’t feel it as a whole.
The shift, as a result of doing this exercise, has been magical, honoring and grounding.
If you feel called to, give this a try, you might find another tool for your self-care kit.