I love to talk about gratitude with my clients. So much so that it’s the first topic we cover in my 12-week Lifestyle Makeover Pogram. Learning to be grateful for anything and everything that happens in our lives is and amazing mindset tool we can use to make peace with things that have happened to us, but man, sometimes getting to a place of gratitude can be really tough.
Often times when we are in search of gratitude, that search comes as a result of going through hard times. Maybe it’s a breakup, a divorce, getting laid off from work or ending a friendship, struggling body image, it could be anything. Here’s the thing though. Getting to a place of gratitude takes time….at least it probably should take time when it’s following a difficult situation.
*Gratitude is not a Band-Aid to cover up the hard feelings*
We have to sit with the shitty feelings and work through those first. Sure, we can find gratitude for things while we process the tough stuff, but we can’t forget to go through all the steps and work through the other emotions, too. We don’t get to skip steps!
This whole idea of using gratitude of a Band-Aid is something that’s been coming up for me a lot lately so I’ll give you a couple example of how this works in real life:
I was reminded of this today when I was talking to a client whose friend had just lost her father who was in his nineties. I remember when we lost my Meme. She was in her nineties and as comfort, countless people said “she lived a full life” as I was barely holding it together at her wake. Yes, she did…I mean if you asked her she’d have told you a different story in her own sarcastic way <3 and I know people were saying that to be comforting, but it almost felt like it meant “Don’t be sad. She lived into her nineties. That’s a long time so it’s ok.” But it wasn’t ok! It was so hard and so sad to lose her and trying not to feel sad about it only made it worse. It’s nearly impossible to go from losing someone we love, no matter how old, to being grateful that we got all those years with them because the wound is still new and open and it hurts. Now I can absolutely sit in gratitude for the time I had with her, but at first, nope. I wasn’t ready for that yet. I still had to be sad for a while and feel through the loss.
Another example is probably something we can all relate to: breakups. Here’s how I used to think it worked: breakup and immediately turn to gratitude. I actually remember telling myself years ago after a breakup that I would only allow myself one day to be sad then I have to move on and get grateful already. I didn’t want to feel heartbroken, sad, lonely, and all the emotions that come with a breakup. Let’s face it, those emotions aren’t fun to feel but they’re so necessary. I just figured if I could just put a positive spin on it that would help me more than sitting with the hard feelings. Well…this got me nowhere fast and it took me a long time to get over that breakup because I never let myself feel the loss. It seemed like the breakup that would never end because it took me a long time to be OK with working through the uncomfortable stuff
Remember that the only way through…is through. So when it comes to gratitude, we really can’t skip steps. Not that it can’t be tempting but in the long run it will only set us back. Gratitude is such a powerful tool but we have to work through the tough stuff. Feeling gratitude is our reward for working through the uncomfortable.