I have big issues with gratitude practice. To me it comes across as a great big humble brag about all the wonderful things you have in your life when I know there are so many people out there who have so little. Gratitude makes me feel guilty. How’s that for where my mind is at! When I have tried gratitude practice in the past I’ve picked things I could see immediately around me in order to get it over with – a cup of tea, my cat, a notebook to write in. I know it’s all about making new neural connections so you train your brain to look for positive things instead of default-setting-negative. But I don’t find gratitude a positive practice at all – I find it stressful!
This means today’s challenge has been particularly tough for me, but here goes…
- I’m grateful for being born when and where I was and that the happy accident of my birth means I had access to food, clean water, medical care, education, democracy, a safe place to live and relative freedom of movement. These are basic things that so many don’t have that even a gratitude sceptic like me can’t help but be grateful for this every day. There are at least five things in this list to be grateful for but that’s probably not the intention of this exercise.
- I’m grateful for having a steady job. Some days I like it and some days I loathe it but I am paid enough to cover all my financial needs and still have some left over to share with others. Which is nice.
- I’m grateful for the little birds who come down and eat at the bird feeder in my garden, just because it makes me happy to see them. Especially the Blue Tits who are very messy eaters. They seem to go through the seeds in the feeder, discarding the ones they don’t like, “Yuck, not that one, yuck, yuckity yuck…” The Wood Pigeons sit underneath and eat the seeds the Blue Tits discard. And then the Robins fly in and chase the Blue Tits off. (Who knew Robins were bullies?)
- I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to travel as much as I have. The idea of going anywhere seems so difficult right now, but I’m grateful that I have a lot of memories to dine out on until it’s possible to travel again. (Although I doubt that travel will ever be the same again.)
- I’m grateful for friends. In the past two years some connections have flourished and some have fallen down. But there have been some reconnections after a gap of years and the conversations resume as if we only stopped talking yesterday. And that’s something to be grateful for.