I’m not going to tell you to get a gratitude journal or to “pay-it-forward”. Although those are great tactics I’m thinking about how to be grateful. Like really grateful. Not the empty stuff. Not the “it could always be worse” tactic. Not that feeling you get when you see someone struggling with a disease and you think “thank god that’s not me”. Those tactics don’t seem to work. And really they may be more about saying “well at least I’m better off than so and so..” and that’s not gratitude That’s something else I can’t name. Maybe it’s benchmarking. Maybe it’s finding perspective but it’s not gratitude. At least not the lasting kind that really warms the confines of your heart.
And it’s the season where we think of others and where we “count our blessings”. So I was laying in some awkward position in yoga yesterday and I thought about it. Because it was a nice alternative to feeling the pose and if I’m honest it was because I saw that someone was struggling and instead of doing that whole “it could be worse” thing I thought there has to be a better way. And since I’m a life coach and not a wizard and my magic wand is perpetually out of batteries, I don’t have a pat answer. This is an invitation for you. An invitation for you to answer the question; how can we be grateful? What does it really mean? And is it possible that it needs recalibration every day or so? Maybe what it was last week or last year doesn’t fit the bill this year.
This is what I’m thinking. I mean, I don’t have THE ANSWER but since I’m a life coach and people pay me to tell them what I think, I’ll share. For me, inside of gratitude is compassion and reaching out. So grateful is an adjective, it’s a feeling and let’s make gratitude a verb (just for fun). And you need both. You have the feeling and then you do something. What you do with it is up to you. So maybe I see someone struggling and I think about what that must be like. Like feel it. Don’t look away. I find a connection to my own life. And then I take action. I do something. Not a tweet or a post. But I do something. I help. I reach out. I try to be helpful. I try to be of service. I try to be grateful.