One of my least favorite things to hear from somebody is, “You should be more grateful.”
There can be some pretty nasty implications in that statement. Suggestions that they have sacrificed in some way that I am not fully appreciating. Judgement that I have received something I don’t deserve. When somebody says, “You should be more grateful.” It might mean that all of my successes are not mine; it might mean that all of my failures should have been so much worse, if I had not been rescued from someone.
My baggage around hearing that I should be more grateful colors how I view it, no matter the context. Lots of spiritual folks have preached the power of thankfulness for milenia. More recently, science has caught up. There are meditations, and prayers, and spiritual practices focusing on the power of giving thanks. But I have had some walls to all these. Partially because of the motivation of some people who needed a motivation check.
The thing is, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
And regardless of what the motivation of somebody is, they are right if they should tell me I should be more grateful.
Yesterday morning I started my day in a manner that was just about my favorite way to be. I rolled out of bed early, but got started slowly on taking the day on. I made some iced coffee, and engaged in a morning that was one part writing, one part meaningless netflix/computer games, and one part house keeping, bill paying etc. If you had watched me, it would have seemed pretty random. Fifteen minutes of guilty pleasures like the show “Supernatural” or the game “Civilization.” Twenty minutes of writing. Eighteen minutes of washing dishes.
Being able to follow my own rhythm, and alternate between feeding my soul, engaging in foolishness, and being productive on my own schedule is a real blessing. It is, in fact, a thing to be grateful for. For the first half of my Saturday morning, there was no joy to be had, though, because I was not willing to make room for it.
A handful of struggles– some pretty deep and significant– were on my mind. This took up all the space there was in my head. There wasn’t room for anything else. I have this sense that gratitude paves the way for joy. And joy is pretty fundamental.
I am writing this to make a comittment to myself, to engage in being thankful more. Not only because somebody else deserves my thanks (though they often do) but also because it is good for me.