It’s ok not to be grateful. Especially for something you never asked for. Especially when you do not feel grateful. Especially if someone is telling you to be grateful.
Shame on them.
Gratitude is an emotion. Emotions happen when they happen, not when you tell yourself to feel them. You are sad when sad, glad when glad and mad when mad. Emotions simply are. A product of the material world, they are a sensory response to the current social environment. You can’t tell your fingers to feel warm in a snow storm. You can’t tell your face not to feel hot in the sun.
Why do you think you can tell your feelings to experience gratitude?
Gratitude bubbles up from inside you when conditions feel balanced and satisfactory…TO YOU. Your personal definition of balance or satisfaction may be wildly different than someone else’s, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with your perspective. Being told you should be grateful is being treated with contempt. It is telling you to judge yourself and your feelings, and find yourself guilty.
Beware giving yourself that same message! When you ponder your feelings and determine you shouldn’t have them, you are being unfair to yourself. Try telling your hand not to feel the burner under your palm. Same task, but because we fail to recognize our intangible emotions as an extension of our nervous system, we treat them like a part of our soul.
Emotions are information. Not actions nor facts.
Gratitude is a breathtakingly glorious emotion and it’s understandable those experiencing it want you to feel it too. Fake it til you make it, practice gratitude, choose thankfulness. Great ideas, but missing the point.
Manufacturing a facade of an emotion does generate pathways of practiced nerve patterns. Acting out routines does create habits. This much is true. But the emotion of gratitude is spontaneous and joyful, not habitualized and mechanical.
Funny thing, when it wells out of you, you realize it doesn’t want to follow those practices, routines and habits! Gratitude wants to playfully take you out of your comfort zone into your curiosity. It drives you to tears with its intensity but not to acts of creating lists.
You are grateful, or you are not. There is no try. And that’s just fine.
Dissatisfaction is a sign you are ready to grow. No matter how well-appointed the nursery might be, every child reaches the stage of needing to experience more, explore more, discover more. Gratitude and satisfaction go hand in hand, with imbalance chasing both of them away.
What imbalance exists that is pressuring for change? Curiosity demands an exploration when gratitude is nowhere to be found in a situation. And in the Moment when the source of imbalance is revealed, appreciation will flow through your veins because suddenly the game is afoot and your journey will begin!
So embrace a lack of gratitude as being the summons to the post, where you are to begin a steeplechase toward a higher level of understanding yourself. From discomfort comes growth and after growth comes gratitude!