Are you Grateful?
So many times, you hear people ask “What are you grateful for?”, but in this question lies a contradiction.
Contradiction is a key factor in creating stress, anxiety and depression. When you use thinking to trick yourself into something that isn’t your truth, or you try and persuade your body that what you are feeling isn’t real, then you are in a contradictive loop and the outcome can be catastrophic.
If you are only grateful in parts or for certain things, situations or outcomes then you are actually being ungrateful for the rest, therefore you are ungrateful. In fact, when you are thinking you are grateful you could be sending yourself the wrong message and creating a contradictive state.
You are either grateful or you are not!
The reason we are either grateful or ungrateful is due to our education system which encourages polarised (black or white) thinking, things are either good or bad, or right or wrong. When in fact things are equally grey and uncertain. This is why in schooling there is no consideration or teaching in modern society about feelings. The reason is that feelings are uncertain and happen differently from person to person. There is no singular black and white answer, therefore it cannot be taught and can only be experienced.
In a black and white society, we are taught to divide things into two boxes of separation and when things don’t fit in one box or the other, most people lose their grounding, cannot cope and fall apart. This form of division is why our society is judgemental, racist and have a necessity to be right.
When we ‘MUST’ fit things into two boxes and our thinking becomes so polarised, that we cannot accept anything that doesn’t fit, we either try and force the idea into one box or the other. When things don't fit then we end up either giving up on the idea or we miss what is grey/uncertain and in turn we miss a whole lot of growth and opportunity.
Many people believe that growth only happens in adversity. Most go through life without considering themselves on a deeper level, because knowing ourselves is one of the most difficult things to understand in this life. As a society, we go about our ways until we feel like we break, it could be due to ending relationships, financial struggles, health or maybe a death. During these periods we become fed up and can have a desperate desire to change and heal. In this state, mostly by chance, we open up and are more acceptable to new things and new ideas, this is why many relate personal growth to painful experiences. But growth doesn't only happen in adversity, it happens anytime we can be open to uncertainty and sit in curiosity. Realising that you can continually grow throughout your life without the attachment to pain is one of the most rewarding notions.
Growth doesn’t happen in adversity; it happens in uncertainty.
Considering true gratefulness
Consider children who are in a wondrous state, learning what nature is unfolding to them. They see a butterfly and are fascinated by it; they also see a lizard and they are equally fascinated by the lizard. A child in this moment isn’t judging whether the butterfly is more beautiful than the lizard, they are simply amazed by both. In this wondrous state they don’t judge what is good or bad and therefore they are grateful for both.
When you begin to realise the importance of polar thinking (sitting in uncertainty or grey), that things don’t have to fit into such rigid thinking, then you can start to see that in every challenge an opportunity awaits. Only then can you appreciate everything in your life as meaningful and wondrous. In this state you can see how events are not just happening in isolation, they are happening in a continuum. It's as necessary as the change in seasons, so are the changes in our lives, it's just that we have been taught something different. eg. The concept “Until death do us part” derived from Christianity and still sworn upon in marriage today. No wonder people are violent and explosive at the end of a marriage, because they have to undo the oath they swore upon.
Once you have this understanding and can see how everything is necessary for your growth, you realise that you don’t need to be grateful anymore, because there is everything to be grateful for.