Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colours. Richelle E. Goodrich
2019 didn’t start the way I planned. It was certainly difficult to see any colour other than grey.
Gratitude doesn’t seem to fit with pain, suffering and fear.
When you’re struggling and survival mode, it doesn’t feel as if there’s space to look beyond what’s necessary to keep you going. Life isn’t easy sometimes, and in those moments it feels as if it’s working against you, not for you.
The feeling is one of resentment, not gratitude.
One of our hardest challenges is to feel good in the present moment and to be grateful for life as it is now.
That’s particularly true when you’re in an abusive or controlling relationship. Managing your anxious feelings, anger, depression or loneliness blur your focus.
What is there to be grateful for?
If that’s not enough, the unhealthy narcissistic person in your life is unlikely to express gratitude for the things that you do. Instead, they feel entitled to receive appreciation, but don’t expect to and rarely appreciate you. All too often the focus is on the negative, on those things that you haven’t done or the things they perceive as missing. This only leaves you feeling not good enough, deflated and taken for granted.
So for you, expressing gratitude feels inauthentic, serving as a means to boost your partner’s already inflated ego. It feels icky and manipulative. That’s because given in this way it is. Gratitude becomes a way of avoiding punishment, keeping on the right side of your partner and keeping your anxiety at bay.
Why would you want to be encouraged to do more of that?
But this isn’t what gratitude is really about. That’s a distorted version.
So What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is about heartfelt appreciation, presence and kindness.
Author Melodie Beattie says:
Gratitude makes things right and unlocks the fullness of life.
It’s actually in our moments of disappointment, pain or merely bad days that gratitude can be most helpful.
Changing The Landscape
That’s because people who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and generally feel healthier.
Gratitude helps you focus on what’s good and on what’s working rather than what’s not.
When you do this, you’ll open to a whole new world that you didn’t realise there. With that expanded vision, you’ll notice a full range of things that you can be joyful and thankful for even when things feel bad.
This isn’t about ignoring or minimising your pain of an abusive relationship. Gratitude reconnects you with your full range of feelings, and there is more to your life than the experience of control and abuse.
The Power of Now
Instead of worrying about the future, gratitude grounds you in the here and now. And the truth is that you can’t change what’s happened. That’s the past. But when you are present to the good things in your life, you train your brain to look for the positives, and you will then notice them more often even in the smallest things that you may have taken for granted before.
Your problems won’t disappear, but you will feel more resourced to see them clearly for what they are and do what is necessary to manage them. Painful situations turn into important and beneficial lessons. Problems turn into gifts.
And, there is so much to be grateful for.
31 Gratitude Journal Prompts
Most of us have lived our lives not focusing on gratitude. So getting started might feel challenging, especially if you’re having a bad day. But things to be grateful for are all around you, and once you develop a gratitude mindset, it will become easier.
Here are 31 prompts to get you going.
- What made you smile?
- What made you laugh?
- What made today a good day?
- What was the best thing that happened to you today?
- What’s something kind that someone did for you?
- What made today special?
- Look around the room you’re in and list the things you are grateful for.
- What do you appreciate about the weather today?
- What are the top 5 things you appreciate about yourself?
- What book are you most grateful for having read?
- What support are you grateful for having, friends, family, work colleagues, faith groups
- What’s your favourite piece of music?
- A special friend you’re grateful for?
- What’s your favourite flower?
- Being able to bathe or have a shower
- Food to eat
- Having shelter
- Your favourite walk
- Contact or smile with a stranger
- An unexpected connection from an old friend
- Someone saying ‘thank you’ to you
- Being able to have a safe and restful nights sleep
- Clean drinking water
- Sneaking your favourite, sweet, chocolate or any other treat
- An accomplishment at work
- What you notice about other people and their day
- Your child’s laugh
- Something that feels bad or that you feel shouldn’t have happened – that made you stronger
- Your pet or other animals you can connect with in other places
- Connecting to a fond childhood memory
- Being able to make choices
Good, Bad, Happy Or Sad
Here in the UK, the national conversation is often about the weather. One report said that we spend over four months of our lives talking about the sunshine or rain! It’s either too hot or there’s too much wind and snow bringing the railways to a halt.
I often remind myself that if there’s no rain, then there are no flowers. The rain allows seeds to germinate to produce our food. This water fills our reservoirs with water to drink.
Today commit to starting to become the person who rejoices in the small things in life; even when things feel terrible. Look at life from a place of gratitude even those times of difficulty.
There is a gift in everything.
Over to You.
What small thing could you be grateful for today? If you want to explore the benefits of incorporating gratitude into your life get in touch and book your first counselling appointment.
Or call me today on 07535 864836.
Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Sandra Harewood
Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and single women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore and discover creative solutions to their difficulties and create great relationships.