Feeling Gratitude When Things Are Hard
The last couple days have been challenging for several reasons. And something I'm learning is that it seems a lot of tragic and crappy things will happen to us. As time goes on we love people and places and things. We learn to discover what it is we are passionate about and what we are not.
This can lead to heart ache when things happen, or don't happen as planned in our lives. Which can leave us feeling sad or angry or otherwise.
But all those inspirational quotes tell us to feel gratitude. "Gratitude changes everything" or "There is always something to be grateful for."
Yes. BUT. BUT it is REALLY hard to feel gratitude when you feel shadowed by a gloomy cloud. It's easy to share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #blessed when you landed the job you were after or nailed something you've been working on. So much more difficult when it seems like you are stuck in a dark room with no windows or doors.
So where do we even begin?
Name it. One of the most interesting concepts I have come across I learned from my teacher Michele Theoret and one of her peers Pamela Moskie. Emotions are not good or bad. They are simply emotions. If we can take what we are feeling and name it as sadness or anger then we can work at it from there. Once we recognize we are sad, hurt or angry and name it, we can start to find ways to deal with it.
I've named my sorrow. Now what?
Feel it. Honestly if you are sad. Be sad for a bit. Let it happen. Again no emotion is "bad". Be angry. Be happy. Feel it. I can't give you a time limit to be guided by. I don't think there is one honestly.
I've cried and felt it, where is the gratitude in that?
Let's find out why we are angry or sad or otherwise. What is the opposite? My example of a loved one passing away. I am filled with great sadness. Sadness that feels like a heavy weight on my chest. I am grateful that I was able to love. Love someone so much that I miss them. Grateful I have memories of them. Grateful I knew them. Grateful she helped make me who I am today.
Angry? Pissed off at the world? I am grateful for my passion. I am grateful for my knowledge of wrong and right. I have gratitude for the lessons in my life that have gotten me fired up.
Now I must say that my advice here is given from personal experience. I am not a therapist or psychologist. And some cases such as depression and anxiety may require the help of these professionals. I encourage seeking help if you feel you can not manage.
I hope you find peace in whatever you are managing and that you take care.
Last spring I went through a difficult time and I wrote in my journal something along the lines of "it's dark. There seems to be no windows or doors. No light. But I have to believe that there will be one again." It did come.