Does practicing gratitude mean ignoring the negativity?

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.  The little difference is attitude.  The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” ~ W. Clement Stone

I have always wondered if being grateful for everything life sends our way implies we accept the toxic, the negative aspects as they are.

Though gratitude is proven to help us heal, find zeal in life, but how should we deal with the bitter, the hurtful emotions?

I have never been able to find a satisfactory answer to this question. Perhaps this has been the principle reason why I have been sporadic in practicing gratitude but never could adopt it as a daily practice. This in turn prevented gratitude from becoming my daily practice.

I have long nursed this desire to touch, talk and reflect upon the elusive gratitude from every angle. That’s when I decided to go make being grateful a habit and making it a reality wasn’t possible without me crossing this roadblock. The past few days or rather months have been very stressful for me.

does-practicing-gratitude-mean-ignoring-the-negativity

One, cause of the emotional upheaval  in my relationship with my child and secondly, on the many health issues faced by the people I love dearly.

Reflecting upon all those times, I can easily find a lesson, a reason to feel grateful about. But at the time when I was going through the crisis, being able to see the positives without forcing myself seemed rather impossible.

It was tough to stop bitterness from plaguing my mind. I felt impervious to joy in any form. All day and night, my mind would play hurtful memories in a loop. Going ahead to say I was grateful for all that was happening to me, was not making any sense to me. Until one day, I decided to overcome the barrier my mind had built. I chose to sit and be thankful for where I was in life.

I chose to stay positive when negativity surrounded me. I kept telling myself, things will get better if I believe they will. I chose to go all the way to see if this new found practice made a real difference because nothing else was working either. I chose to be patient, not in waiting for a miracle to happen but in staying put, working constantly to surround myself with positive thoughts fortified by the belief that I can break-free of this difficult phase if I invest all my energy to make it happen. I was ready to let life test my determination to make a positive change.

This was when gratitude played the catalyst it has been known to be. I had simply to be thankful for whatever place I was in life. Being thankful never meant being content with what I had or not to desire for more. I just had to be appreciative of every struggle, of every lesson my hurtful experiences were teaching me. I was happily acknowledging their existence. THIS made the whole difference.

In acknowledging that I was in pain and yearning for change, I unburdened my soul of the pretense that all was okay. I was grateful for the dawn of realization. I was grateful for being determined to make the change, to be at a place I envisioned in my relationships. This opened a new channel of being at peace with my troubles, short bursts of hope hinted that tomorrow will be better.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
~Eric Hoffer

The changed perspective added focus and enthusiasm as I marched ahead mending my ways. I was now busy repairing my broken pieces, doing the internal work I needed to heal myself before I could even attempt working on my relationship with my child.

In the months gone by, I can safely say, I am a changed person. There has been tremendous progress because I have learnt to be thankful for every small step I take towards better living.

The negativity, pent up frustration of being so far from my set goal had been causing a burn out on my mind and spirit. Today, I feel lighter, brighter and happier than I ever was. All this is not because I am a sorted person, but because I have come to see things in a different light. A positive attitude that feeds on faith and trust, leaves a lot of room for growth and improvement. It is nearly impossible to be grateful for something and to frown upon it at the same time.

But what did the magic?

Letting go. I had been putting too much weight on trying to control every little spec of my world. I was too busy making every moment perfect that I was failing to be happy in it. I chose to loosen a bit. I chose to let things be and to go with the flow. I understood, I couldn’t afford to lose myself trying so hard nor could I force things to happen.

No, it never meant beginning to give up trying to change things the way I wanted them, but instead it implied trying my best and then being okay with whatever happens.

Being grateful isn’t about overlooking the negativity but feeling empowered to overcome them.

The song on my mind: Love you Zindagei ~ Dear Zindagi

4 thoughts on “Does practicing gratitude mean ignoring the negativity?

  1. Reading this post was like sitting next to you as you were thinking aloud:)
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    Your last line, ‘Being grateful isn’t about overlooking the negativity but feeling empowered to overcome them.’ sums it all so beautifully.

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  2. Sara

    Thank you so much for this post. I have a fancy book and I’m short of a nice black gel pen to start my very own gratitude journal. But im really clueless with the how’s and what’s e pen to pen down in my book. Can you give me some tips?
    “Being thankful never meant being content with what I had or not to desire for more. I just had to be appreciative of every struggle, of every lesson my hurtful experiences were teaching me.”
    You have no idea how these words inspire me every time i read them. 🙂

    Like

    1. I’d just say, start writing about every big and small thing you are grateful for every day and slowly you’ll figure out what all you would love to note in your gratitude journal. I have read up a number of articles on these lines, but when it came down to writing in my journal, I had to skim through all the advice and just do what kept me returning to my journal with an open mind. I am glad my words have been helpful to you in some way.
      I really hope you start writing your daily gratitude journal soon 🙂

      Like

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