Living in Gratitude
What does it mean to live in gratitude? To truly cherish and appreciate everything we have in our life. I feel gratitude becomes more of a reminder after a tragedy or misfortune. We reflect on gratitude after we have not accomplished something or the saying "be grateful for what you got."
It is almost a challenge to reflect everyday feeling grateful. You might wake up in the morning and feel hateful or worn out from having to go to a job you despise but yet you hear the saying, " be grateful for this job." You might be struggling financially or in a relationship and you might reflect on, " be grateful because some people have even less than you."
Why is it that gratitude comes from when we are in a negative space? Why is it THEN that we remember to be thankful, be appreciative and reflect on the wonderful things, people or situations we have? Is it human nature to reflect only when things are gloom?
This is a emotion ( if you will) that I study a lot. Being grateful. How people perceive it and how it reflects in ones life. I myself was guilty of not enforcing this mind set and found myself constantly wondering why I wasn't succeeding, why things weren't going in my favor. Have I not worked hard enough to deserve more?
The last few years I struggled with anxiety. Becoming a mother and small business owner where some of the bigger key factors in this anxiety. I spent many times in emergency rooms for anxiety attacks, I took anxiety medications, I struggled through loss of sleep, weight loss and gain, feelings of complete fear and loss. I tried a lot of things to help combat this feeling but it wasn't until I started truly living in gratitude that I am able to have a fighting chance against anxiety. Here is what I do.
We don't want to substitute feelings we have with gratitude. If you are feeling sad. Feel sad.Grieve if you need to. Feel these feelings. I almost cringe at the saying " be grateful for what you got." Almost as if your feelings don't matter because someone else told us we need to "feel" better. We cant live in a true state of gratitude unless we are living in the space where we can really appreciate what we have. Not substituting a feeling to help us feel better about an emotion we are experiencing.
Example, I was feeling very sad and anxious that I was going to be closing down a part of my business that I had worked YEARS on making successful. It took every single minute of those years to make it successful and I keep getting the response from those closest to me "don't feel sad, feel grateful you got to have those experience." Even though I was grateful for how far I had come I couldn't suppress this feeling of sadness. I tried pushing it down, keeping it down. Finding myself getting frustrated that I couldn't "feel" happy moving on to the next venture. Why was I holding on to this? Why couldn't I just move on? Let me tell you why...because I was trying to substitute sadness and anxiety with gratefulness.
I couldn't actually feel grateful to move on in my business until I was able to say to myself " you know what, it is sad. It sucks that after all that time and effort I put into this, at the end I still wasn't fully happy. I am upset that I spent that much time, nights...days...every waking minute on something...that in the end...didn't fulfill me." I spent time here, in this feeling. I let myself experience these emotions. Sadness, grief. I gave myself permission to feel upset and frustrated.After allowing myself these emotions something was able to shift inside me..I was grateful for EVERYTHING that I did. " Marz," I told myself, " you did some amazing things, things that not very many people do or can even try to do. You pushed through fear of failure ( and failed experiences, trust me) you juggled being a Mom and a small business owner, you taught yourself what you needed to know to NOT keep your business in a stand still. You are shutting down a part of your business because you grew inside... you are expanding yourself to even more potential...and for that you can be proud of your self and you can truly feel grateful for what you accomplished."
After giving myself time to reflect on my emotions. After I gave myself the permission to be upset, it was only then that I was able to move myself through that sludge and find this place of gratitude.
I live in a present state of gratefulness. I can return to my business ( maybe change the name up a bit) and morph it into something EVEN bigger, stronger and better. I can also enhance my feeling of gratitude every day by letting myself feel what I am feeling, heal and step into gratitude. Not force gratitude on myself, but use it as a destination AND a fuel to get me through this crazy life.