Tuesday, September 24, 2013

But-Less Gratitude

I'm going to be quick ... I know I tend to get long. I always intend to be quick and four pages later ... alright, I'll just stop now.

Last Saturday was World Gratitude Day. Yes, I know it's one of those made-up, Hallmark holidays, but gratitude is so very important for shifting your vibration towards the positive that it's worth pausing for.

While I was at an event, the speaker asked us to pause and think of things we were grateful for. This is when I had the epiphany I am passing on to you:
Think of things that you are actually grateful for.
I know, I'm a genius right?

Seriously, though, every time people do this in a group, people always say their family, their kids, their jobs. And it's always in that tone. That Hermione gets a gold star tone. That "Teacher, you forgot to give us homework." tone.

You'd think we were all running for student council.

Fortunately, the woman leading the workshop asked us to think of things we were grateful for in our heads and not out loud. I am happy to say that I rattled off a list of things so quickly that I was amazed and happy and wanted to keep going.

The thing was, they were things I really was grateful for:
  • the two matching, crystal lamps that brighten up my office
  • the new makeup kit from QVC that turned out to be so awesome
  • the soft, wet, cool breeze of Atlantic Coast Florida early in the morning.  
The problem with saying your family et al is that there's always a but.
  • You're grateful for your family, buuuuutttt they drive you crazy.
  • You're grateful for your job, buuuuutttt they drive you crazy.
  • You're grateful for your friends, buuuuutttt they drive you crazy. (Less than family, buuuuutttt you get my point)
When there's a big buuuuutttt in the thing you're grateful for, practicing gratitude is
  • Not going to shift your energy
  • Not going to make you feel better
  • Not going to bring you all the benefits you keep reading about practicing gratitude ... and that's just going to make you feel worse.
When you make a list of thing you're really grateful for, go Kosher--no butts!

Saying your grateful for your family, your friends, or your job is usually a bad idea if there are big butts in there. 
  • Pretty, crystal lamps (where I got a great deal) - no buts!
  • Awesome new makeup - no buts!
  • Beautiful breeze - no buts!
It doesn't matter how stupid, or silly, or unelectable to the student council your gratitude list makes you. No one has to see it. No one has to know.

The important thing is that you really feel the gratitude for whatever it is with no buts. Family relationships and jobs are too complicated and our feelings are too mixed about them to shift your energy quickly - even if you really are grateful deep down. In fact, when I talk about my day job, "I'm grateful to have it." is the first thing I say ... because I know I'm about to complain.

Now, soft-serve frozen yogurt in white chocolate mousse? All gratitude, no complaining, no buts.