Photo by Gabrielle Cole
More than twenty years ago, Oprah talked about creating a "Gratitude Journal" on her daily, afternoon show. She encouraged her audience to "write down five things you're grateful for, every night, before going to bed".
Tony Robbins starts each day focusing on one thing for which he is grateful. As he says, "You can't be fearful and grateful, simultaneously.".
Arianna Huffington talks about writing down three things you're grateful for both at the beginning as well as the end of each day. She also recommends sharing them with a friend or two as a means of strengthening their significance. She teaches that "where there is gratitude, there is the realization that we can find happiness and peace even when things are not going our way.".
I personally think the practice is awesome AND I think it's important to sometimes differentiate between being grateful and being able to appreciate something.
For me, I love being reminded to be grateful for something that I might be taking for granted. It could be my good health, the fact that my legs and arms work efficiently, that I have a safe place to live and nourishing food at my disposal, and so on. It feels like a prayer when I recognize these blessings in my life.
At the same time, I don't feel a need to be grateful for getting sick, being in an accident, or losing something important and precious to me, for example. I might be appreciative for the lessons learned. Yes, as Arianna Huffington states, "...we can find happiness and peace even when things are not going our way", but that is not to be confused with being happy that something awful has happened. In an effort to become evolved or enlightened, I sometimes feel like we are pressured to just accept everything and that can be very frustrating.
I also don't suggest that we wallow in our misery and make that the total focus. That only leads to whining and blaming. I do propose venting, kvetching, and letting off steam whether through some furious writing or even having a friend hear you out. Then, when you've expressed your anger and irritation, it's time to shift your focus to what's going really well in your life.
So, while I admit that finding out what's not working for you can be very informative and can help you change direction, I'm not going to urge you to put that on your gratitude list. I propose that you get back your "feel good" mood with the things we sometimes overlook that make our lives as outstanding as they really are. This is what I wish for you.