Here’s why I stopped being grateful (kind of…)
I stopped forcing myself to be grateful a long time ago.
You see, being grateful always felt quite heavy to me.
It’s in all the self help books and workshops. It’s the holy grail of attracting more abundance into your life.
Be grateful, to attract more things to be grateful for.
It makes perfect sense!
However, what you’re actually doing is aligning yourself with, and attracting the vibration and energy behind ‘feeling grateful’, and for me grateful has always felt a little dense and heavy energetically.
It took me ages to work out why, as no one wants to think of themselves as un-grateful! And I certainly didn’t feel that way.
But yet the word grateful didn’t sit comfortably with me.
What Gratitude means to me
Then echoes of my childhood rang through my ears:
‘You should be grateful, there are people who have it much worse than you!’
‘Eat it all up. Be grateful you have anything to eat, there are children starving in Africa‘
‘Be grateful that your father isn’t here, he wouldn’t have let you off so lightly’
I’d been bought up where gratitude was a double edged sword.
Of course I was glad things weren’t worse than they were, or that I wasn’t starving in Africa, or I wasn’t in even more trouble, but these seemed more like guilt trips than reasons to be joyous.
Gratitude felt like it was tainted with the energy of struggling to overcome something. Especially when I found myself thinking:
‘I’m so grateful that exams over, only two more to go.’
‘I’m so grateful that I didn’t fall over in from of all those people and make a fool of myself.’
Gratitude was an expression of thanks that felt closed and heavy, it felt like overcoming a battle.
So when I was told to keep a gratitude diary, or make lists of things I was grateful for before I went to bed, my heart sank a little.
I did it, as I didn’t want to appear ungrateful, but it didn’t bring the joy I expected it to, or that I’d heard about.
Moving from gratitude to appreciation
One day I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to be grateful for things that happened (or didn’t happen), I wanted to appreciate them!
Is there much difference between being grateful and appreciating something?
Well to me there is.
Appreciation, feels much lighter, joyful and like a choice I make – not one that’s forced upon me (or I’d feel guilty).
Appreciation is the act of recognising that something is valuable or important, and feels deeper than just giving thanks.
To me appreciation feels much more freeing, much lighter, much more open.
It may seem like a simple thing, even something that isn’t really that important.
Do it your way
But what it highlighted to me is the importance of doing things your way.
Just because something worked for your friend, the latest guru, or best selling book, doesn’t mean it will work for you. As you and your experiences are unique to you.
Your beliefs and how they were created are unique to you.
If you ever find that something isn’t working for you, just ask yourself why.
Think about what that activity really means to you, not just about the activity itself. Break it down in to the words being used if you have to…
I completely agree with the concept of gratitude journals, but for me I needed to tweak it slightly – an appreciation journal feels much more spacious and aligned for me.
What works for you?