Sometimes themes appear with my clients. Not obvious ones like everyone feeling a bit less energetic because of the cold weather – but more subtle things. This week’s theme was that people feel they should be more grateful for what they have.
Gratitude is such an important part of Positive Psychology but sometimes it’s not enough.
It is important to bring your attention to what’s going well in your life but it’s equally important to acknowledge what isn’t.
Mindfulness is about learning to be present to your experience – to notice and acknowledge your feelings and thoughts (good and bad), without judgement.
In a way, this is contradictory to the experience of expressing gratitude – which many people find confusing.
There must be room for both gratitude and acceptance in our lives.
For the most part, our brains have a negative bias, so many of us have a tendency toward pessimistic thinking. Which is why practicing gratitude is important. But it’s unrealistic to always be optimistic and positive. And for anyone who’s spent too much time with a ‘Pollyanna’ type, you’ll agree that it’s downright annoying.
Life will always be a blend of suffering and joy.
Sometimes we need to just go with our experiences as they arise. And feel them for what they are.
By all means ask the question ‘is there anything I want to change?’. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel gratitude for every moment of the day.
Life sucks some days. And that’s ok.