I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty over hearing every article that goes viral instructing me to be grateful. Yes, being grateful for all that you have can remind you of things that you take for granted. It can help you focus on all you have versus what you think is missing. Yadda yadda, I get it.
But, let’s face it, sometimes we just do not authentically feel grateful. Sometimes we have a really crappy day, a disastrous week, or even a painful month. And, I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I want in those moments is to force myself to be grateful. I want to honor what I’m feeling in those rough moments.
I want to honor what I’m going through without getting stuck in a rut.
So, instead of forcing myself to feel grateful when I’m not authentically feeling gratitude, I’ve been choosing to instead bring more awareness into the picture by reminding myself that everything is temporary.
Why? Because it feels more authentic, more ‘right,’ for me to be more aware of this fact, to remind myself that whatever I am experiencing will not last, rather than force myself to be in a state that I’m not ready to be in.
What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up.
Nothing in life is stagnant, all eventually moves, even if you don’t move with it, life moves on with or without you.
And, when we are in a place where life doesn’t look so pretty, we prolong the way we are feeling by trying to find quick fixes or tricking ourselves into believing that we aren’t feeling as badly as we are in that moment.
Because, no one wants to be sad, or hurt, or disappointed, or angry. And, there is pressure from society that you not be gloomy; no one likes a party pooper. You should just ‘suck it up,’ ‘get over it,’ or realize that things are simply ‘not that bad.’
Our society in general has a difficult time embracing uncomfortable feelings and does not hold much tolerance for both themselves and others when they surface.
And, so, they recommend band-aids, such as creating a list of all things in your life for which you are grateful, a quick fix to feel better.
But the reality is that the only way you work through those uncomfortable feelings, through the more difficult times in your life, is by riding it out.
When we run, avoid, rush ourselves into feeling better, we prolong, but when we allow ourselves to feel the uncomfortableness that is when progress is made.
Uncomfortabless is just that: uncomfortable. So when I’m riding through these phases in life, these phases that no one is immune to, that is when I call forth my awareness, an awareness that reminds me that this uncomfortable ride is temporary.
It makes it easier to hang in there through the process, knowing that it will not last.
This doesn’t mean that I discount recognizing how fortunate I am to have all that I have, it does not mean lacking gratitude, it means allowing myself to honor how I authentically feel even if it is difficult and not forcing myself to be in a place where I am not.
Gratitude does wonders for us, study after study has shown this, but it is not a substitute for riding out and working through whatever is ailing us.
Gratitude is a component of healing, but it is not healing itself.
What are your thoughts on authenticity and gratitude?