Lately I have come across a number of articles regarding ‘The Dark Side Of Gratitude”. The rationale behind these articles seems to be that focussing on gratitude can lead one to feelings of guilt (for having an abundance of what others lack), depression (for not being able to appreciate all that one has), or feelings of unworthiness (for all that one possesses). I see the point these articles are trying too make, but in my mind it is not gratitude that is the problem.
The best definition I have seen for gratitude is ‘Pausing to notice and appreciate the things (people, experiences, and opportunities) in life that we often take for granted.’ it is that simple. Gratitude opens our hearts and our minds to all that is beautiful, comforting and caring in life.
I have struggled to feel grateful in my life and I now know what it is like to have a true attitude of gratitude. Struggle is no doubt part of the path to gratitude but it is definitely not the result of it. 🤦
My path to gratitude was an uphill, rock strewn, dirt road which came to several dead ends and led me over the occasional cliff. I, like most people, made it harder than it had to be. Ultimately, I found it necessary to make peace and contentment a priority in my life, and gratitude came naturally.
Along the way, I shared or crossed paths with others who were enjoying a life of gratitude and many others who were struggling to find their own way.
I have known people who had virtually nothing and yet were so grateful for anything and everything. Most of these people were young children. Regardless of their personal circumstances, tots will positively beam with joy over anything from a new pair of socks, to a simple treat, to the discovery of a ladybug, to the greatest Disneyland adventure. Tots are born with an amazing attitude of gratitude. That, in my mind, is why childhood is such a precious and magical time. 🤗
At the opposite end of the spectrum, I met people who had far more than they would ever need, but we’re totally miserable and lacking in gratitude for all they had or anything that they received or experienced. They constantly wanted more, or something different, or were too busy grasping what they had, to comprehend the joys of gratitude, much less attempt to develop an attitude of gratitude for any of it.
There were those who were totally vested in their own pity party or victim identity. They threw away one opportunity after another, ignored all kindness and generosity shown them, and tossed away every blessing they received in life. Sadly, I have known people to plod through their entire life with this mindset. They appreciated nothing in life. They were incapable of an attitude of gratitude until they changed their opinion of themselves and life in general and many just never did.
Lastly, there were those who never recognized their blessings because they were totally wrapped up in needing others to be grateful for every little thing they did for them. Gratitude was a weakness in their mind, subservient behaviour that was to be expected from those beneath them. They could not develop an attitude of gratitude because they simply did not understand the concept.
Developing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is not the easiest thing to do these days. Life is typically lived at a frantic pace, technology drives us beyond our limits, drama and greed and negativity are celebrated. But, living a life of gratitude is so worth every effort that one can make. There is no dark side. Gratitude helps through the worst times of our lives, helps us make the best of the good times, and just makes every day worth living.
Wishing you a great day with every opportunity to feel grateful. 😊 Take it easy, take care and see you tomorrow. 💞