Gratitude When You Don't Feel Grateful
I remember a season in life that was so hard and I didn’t have much to be grateful for. It seemed like every single area of my life from finances to friends to family to purpose was hanging on by a thread. No matter how hard I tried or how much effort I poured out, nothing in my life seemed to improve in the ways I wanted or needed it to.
The last thing I wanted to do in that season was give thanks. Not just because the list of things I had to give thanks for was short, but also because the things I needed in life left me in pain. It felt insincere to give thanks because I knew deep down I was not grateful.
In seasons like that you don’t need run of the mill platitudes on gratefulness that you can embroider onto pillows or paint on a nice canvas to hang in your living room. In hard seasons you need the kind of gratitude that breaks you open so that praise that pours out comes from a place deep within your heart.
You need gritty gratitude.
Gritty gratitude is the kind of gratitude where you find that YOU are the thing that is changed before your circumstances ever budge. This kind of gratitude is built in rock bottom moments of life where the circumstances are far from improved. This is the kind of gratitude that fights back against the overwhelming negativity that can come with certain seasons of life. This kind of gratitude comes from a changed heart.
I learned first and foremost that gratitude was a choice. I could choose to continue to complain about the things that were wrong in my life which only left me feeling helpless and depressed, OR, I could choose to start training my mind to see what was going right in my life. In the beginning it was a very short list, but as I practiced focusing on the positive it became more natural for me to notice those things automatically.
You see, gratitude is a way of reframing your mind to handle the challenges of life. The difference between a failure and a lesson learned is the way you’re looking at your circumstances. When you switch your lens to one of gratefulness, then you realize that life is a gift and there is something being given every day if you would take the time to notice it.
When you realize the gift, the thanks flows. You become thankful for your breath, another day, a good conversation, or the person who made you laugh. It takes effort to make this switch in perspective and it feels unnatural at first, but it becomes easier the more you practice.