"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Begin at Gratitude

Today I am grateful for songs that always stir my soul when I hear them. And I am grateful for a different routine this week. It shakes things up in good ways.

On Sunday, my sister Danita and I were talking about gratitude and how it sometimes is given a pollyannish meaning. This can turn people away from gratitude, believing someone who is always grateful is glossing over and denying the tough times and burying the difficult emotions. That they aren't being realistic and that their happiness isn't genuine.

We both disagree with these ideas and they have proven to be false in our own lives. As we talked, she said she looks at it this way: gratitude is not the end point, it is the starting point. Begin at gratitude. More will be seen, heard, felt, and experienced in helpful ways when gratefulness is where we start our day or this moment.

Daily practice of gratitude helps the negative emotions lose power. If we only focus on negative, we get stuck. The negative emotions expand and have all the power. But when the negative emotions are diminished or given a break, even a brief one, patterns can be broken. We are then better able to look at all of our emotions, feel them, process them, and carry on in a different and healthier manner than we did when we were mired in the muck.

Gratitude practice doesn't make us immune to tough times and it doesn't buffer us from pain. It allows us to handle both much better though.

Denying all positive emotions only perpetuates and feeds the negative mindset. Embracing positive emotions, like gratitude, helps us gain new perspective and fresh ways of looking at things. We get unstuck and move forward.

Begin at gratitude. You won't be sorry.

I will be taking a blog break for a few days. Keep the gratitude flowing!

4 comments:

  1. Gratitude is not the end point, it is the starting point... love that perspective.

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    1. And as long as I keep starting with gratitude, my perspective is healthier and forward-moving. Thanks Steve!

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