𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐞 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐅𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐟𝐮𝐥
When I was getting certified as a positive psychology practitioner, one of the biggest traits that I learned from my mentor was the practice of Gratitude
Scientific research has revealed that gratitude increases our happiness, strengthens our immune system, has us sleep better, helps us socially & boosts our work productivity
With all these benefits, it’s clear that the practice of gratitude is a worthwhile pursuit
However, here’s the difficult part
It is not easy for many to be truly grateful (like REALLY grateful, you know what I mean)
One of my clients candidly accepted this in a session
“I just don’t feel grateful, and I feel guilty and shameful for that. I have tried to see the good in everything, journaled, saying thank you for what I have, but it feels fake & pretentious.”
First of all, I honor her for being open & vulnerable. In fact, that’s what the space of coaching gives us
Yes, Gratitude does not come naturally for everyone, the practice is not easy
And, the approach here is not to force yourself to be grateful in all situations
Forcing ourselves to say thank you when we feel hurt or disrespected can add an insult to our suffering
So where do we start from?
Gratitude is actually one of the first expressions of our human consciousness. So is compassion, empathy & awareness
We approach it differently
Instead of trying to be grateful, let’s honestly “investigate” the reason we are "not" grateful
𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥 𝟏 : With self-inquiry questions, understand what conditioned traits you carry that’s keeping you from being grateful?
Do you focus on negativity (Our brains are wired to focus on negative experiences)
Do you compare a lot?
Do you have a tendency to numb your feelings - both good and bad?
Have you had a childhood upbringing where it was modeled for you to find fault in the outside world
Or does it come from having been abused or neglected or a trauma event?
It is OK to be in this place. Once you accept, work through these fears, repression and trauma somatically to melt, release and transmute them
𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥 𝟐: Allow space for gratitude and negative emotions simultaneously
Remember that practicing gratitude does not negate difficult feelings
Expressing gratitude doesn’t mean you have to ignore or suppress an uncomfortable experience & it doesn’t diminish the difficulty of your experience
For instance, being grateful that you ended a painful relationship does not mean the hurt and disappointment you feel aren’t real or important
𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥 𝟑: Going WITHIN to a deeper part of your Self
KNOWING Yourself at the level of MIND
LOVING Yourself at the level of HEART
TRUSTING Yourself at the level of GUT
If you can become more stabilized in level 3, you don’t even have to try to be grateful
Gratitude will start flowing into everything you do, as your natural expression