I have been practicing gratitude for a while now, I am by no means an expert in the subject and I still have a great deal to learn however, I would like to share what I have learnt so far, possibly to help others but mostly to remind myself.
Gratitude is defined as: ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’
No mention of comparison or guilt but as children, for me anyway, it was confusing to hear phrases such as, ‘you should be grateful’, ‘there are people worse off’ and ‘don’t be so ungrateful’. Phrases often bringing the negativity of comparison and guilt to what should be the positive feelings of gratitude.
I used to believe that to feel grateful I should feel some amount of guilt. I would compare what I have, to what others have, trying to force myself into feeling grateful, more often than not the feelings of guilt overriding the feelings of gratitude.
A huge part of my recovery was letting go of the guilt I felt and comparisons I made, it was then when I began to feel truly grateful.
Moments of pure gratitude, no longer conflicted with negative emotions.
You see, by feeling gratitude without feeling guilt or comparing and giving reason for my gratitude, I have been able to truly enrich my life. By clearing up the confusion and false believes I had around gratitude has changed my life.
This hasn’t happened over night, I have been practicing for almost three years now, noticing my feelings and bringing an awareness to what and who I am grateful for, consistently letting go of guilt and comparison.
Most evenings, before falling asleep I ask myself ‘what are you grateful for today?’, and no matter how small the answer I allow myself to focus on that for a few moments, feeling nothing but gratitude towards it.
Sometimes, gratitude comes to me and it is one of the best feelings, again, when this happens I allow myself a few moments to be with that feeling and focus on what it is I am grateful for.
I’m unsure if this confusion of gratitude is common, or if this post even makes sense, but I just want you (and me) to know that it is more than okay to allow yourself to feel true gratitude for whatever it is that makes you feel grateful, thankful or blessed. You (and me) do not need to attach gratitude with feelings of guilt nor do we need to compare our lives to others in order to feel it.
Thank you for reading,