Like meditation, the idea of practising Gratitude, is no longer something that draws funny looks or raised eyebrows. Even in amongst the chaos of 2020, being “grateful” has become quite mainstream. As awesome as it’s sudden rise to fame is, with that can come a lot of confusion, so I thought I’d share my take on what Gratitude IS – starting with what it ISN’T 😉
Gratitude is NOT burying your head in the sand, and ignoring your current reality.
It’s 2020. COVID has struck. For a lot of people right now, day to day life is a bit shit. Gratitude isn’t about pretending it’s not shit, but instead shifting your focus to the things that you can enjoy/appreciate/celebrate instead – no matter how small they are.
I think that being honest with yourself about how you’re truly feeling is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Often when people come to me for advice, this is the first place I suggest to start. If you wake up in the morning feeling sad, lacking motivation, and a bit down in general, there is nothing to gain from plastering a fake smile on your face and pretending to yourself that everything is “fine”… like “NO REALLY I’M FINE”. It’s inauthentic. Not only are you lying to yourself, you’re stopping yourself from accessing your true feelings, and therefore you are suppressing what longs to be expressed. This will probably just build up and come back to explode on you at a later date FYI. But not only that, when you are not being honest with yourself, you are also not being honest with the people around you, and that creates a disconnect between you and your family/friends. Sooo many people I know are expert level when it comes to suffering in silence…
And the crazy paradox about this is?
When you allow yourself to actually feel your feels, you can move through them SO MUCH QUICKER. You know I hate clichés, but “what you resist, persists” is one of the truest 😉
I used to be so good at pretending I was fine all the time. It wasn’t for other people’s sake (not that considerate!) but more that to me being in the negative or heavy emotions was uncomfortable. I love it when life is light and fun and joyful and breezy. Rainbows, unicorns, butterflies and lollipops? Count me in! But feeling sad or stuck or frustrated? Yeah nahhhhh. I understand now though how powerful it is to be so aware of my current feelings – yet without any judgement of them.
But anyways, I digress. Back to gratitude and here’s a light-hearted example of how it can smoothly wind it’s way into your daily internal dialogue…
Me: “Week 4 of lockdown. It’s a bit shit isn’t it?”
Also Me: “Yep. I miss my friends, I miss my niece and nephew. And I realllllly reallllly miss the gym”.
Me: I get it, this is a crazy ass time to be alive… some might even say UNPRECEDENTED. I mean not us, we would never use such cliché terms, but some people definitely would.
Also Me: Yep. And some days I feel really motivated and other days I just don’t feel like doing anything!
Me: I hear ya. That’s pretty normal. Most of the fun things have been taken away. But we know that every cloud has a silver lining, the universe has got your back, all is exactly as it should be etc etc etc… so what are some of the blessings to come out of all this?
Also Me: Oh loads. I live, work, and study just a few metres away from the kitchen which means snack frequency and proximity is at a career high. I can’t go to the gym, but I can walk endless laps around the block! And not being able to travel has given me all this time to fine tune my book and set up some solid foundations for my business! Now that you mention it, it’s really not so bad.
Me: Wow, looking at you jumping on the gratitude bandwagon
Also Me: Oh and I forgot to mention that when I go for walks and a really good song comes on in Spotify, I can sing and dance a little bit as I walk and no one knows it’s me behind the mask!
I find that instituting a daily practice of gratitude can really help to subtly switch your mindset to a more empowered, optimistic state. Some days your gratitude list might be pages long. And other days the best you can come up with is a letter/parcel finally arriving from Australia Post. Actually, that’s a poor example. At this point in time a delivery from Australia Post would be nothing short of miraculous. I’m currently waiting on a Parcel from Brisbane that I ordered 4 weeks ago. The usual transit time is 3 days. When that does finally arrive, I will be SO grateful (and overjoyed), there’s a high probability I’ll go streaking naked around the neighbourhood (wearing a mask and pre-8pm curfew though obvs). But on a rough day, your list might just have something as little as “enjoyed a walk in the sunshine”. It doesn’t have to be “won $80million in the lottery”. But if it is, let me know your tricks – I’ve been trying to manifest that for years 😉
I like to think of at least one thing that I’m grateful for every night before going to bed. I mean, some times I forget. Because I’m so busy from all the ISO snacking and hibernating, but most days I remember. Over time it shifts from being something you do to tick a box, to just becoming part of your daily mindset.
And the best thing? Once you start looking for things to be thankful for, your ability to find them increases exponentially. It’s the fastest way to raise your vibrations. You no longer feel a victim to your circumstances as you start to embody the idea that life is constantly evolving FOR you rather than happening TO you. Sure, the lessons aren’t always exactly what our conscious mind would choose, but my experience has been that they are always for your highest good.
Would LOVE to know about your experience with gratitude. Do you have a daily practise? Has it helped you over the years? And any questions, let me know 😊