In the self-help or motivational world, gratitude has become (or maybe it always was) a big buzzword. Memes galore spout the benefits of a grateful existence. I often post inspirational quotes about gratitude on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I also practice what I preach; I look for ways to be grateful every single day. Yet what if we have a day/week/month where we just can’t seem to summon up much gratitude, is that going to be the end of the world?
The Problem with Gratitude
Here’s where I see the problem with gratitude when I’m talking to clients and people I meet at the talks I give, sometimes we expect gratitude before all else. So here’s my example, let’s say you are in a car accident and you lose your right pinky finger. You are really upset and in pain about losing that pinky finger. Friends and family come to visit you and they all keep saying, “You should be so grateful that you didn’t lose the other nine fingers.” But you aren’t feeling so grateful because you really liked that pinky and you used it all the time. You are not only not grateful but you are a little bit pissed off that you lost that pinky finger.
What if you didn’t have to be grateful right that minute? What if you could just take a while to mourn the loss of that pinky finger? What if you could just sit for a bit and feel sorry for yourself, curse the person who caused the accident, and generally have some bad feelings around that pinky loss? Maybe if you allowed yourself to experience all of the feelings that you had then you’d be ready to be grateful for all of your other fingers.
You Can’t Force Gratitude
Here’s my point, we can’t force gratitude even if want to. Gratitude has to come when we are ready to let it in. When we are ready to accept failure, loss, or a bad situation and to look at that situation in a way that feels right to us. Gratitude is healing but not when we try to force it onto others or ourselves. There are days when finding something to be grateful for might be hard for you. If so, either choose something really simple like your favorite cup of coffee or choose to forgive yourself for not having gratitude on that day. Trust yourself that you will when you are ready and for now you are just going to accept your own thoughts or feelings as they come to you.
Gratitude is a great emotion (or thought) yet don’t let the gratitude trend make you feel guilty for the days that you just aren’t ready to be grateful. Maybe you can just be grateful for not having to be grateful!
Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC
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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident
by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.
About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC
Certified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.
I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.
Gain the Confidence You’ve Always Wanted
Are you stuck in a place where you don’t feel good about yourself, feel stuck, and don’t feel happy or fulfilled? Whatever it is that keeps you from happiness can be solved. It’s true! And it can usually be solved within a short amount of time.
Many women have either lost confidence in themselves or realize that they’ve never had it. They are afraid to ask for what they want, they don’t feel good about themselves, and they find that just getting through the day is exhausting.
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