When Gratitude is Detrimental.

Gratitude. I am all about it. For me, it is an intentional, daily practice. On those not so great days, it takes me out of the negative spiral that often manifests, and helps me to reframe and refocus. It allows me to stand back from the “negative” happenings in my life and extract the lessons and insights. Gratitude helps me to evolve, expand, and move ever closer to the person I want to be in this life.

Gratitude is the foundation of clarity.

Intentional gratitude is incredibly powerful and transformative, and lies at the crux of authentic wellbeing, if appropriately timed.

The transformative power of gratitude can only take root if correctly placed on your path of self-evolution.

If misused, gratitude can be hugely detrimental to your growth. It can block you and keep you in an insincere self-space. The problem with gratitude arises when it is used to mask the impacts of painful life events.

Something utterly devastating has just happened to you. You feel like your world is falling apart. You’re hurt, overwhelmed, and in pain, and it’s terrifying. You don’t know what to do with your feelings. You don’t want to tell anyone for fear of appearing weak. You don’t want people’s pity, so if you do reach out, you skim the surface of what you’re experiencing, and slap it with a “I should be grateful though, it could be worse”, severely downplaying your current internal reality. And so, gratitude becomes the new name of avoidance, resistance, denial, self-betrayal, and self-criticism.

This “gratitude” promotes a hierarchy of suffering, and fuels the notion that human suffering and pain is to be classified. We use it to measure our worthiness of receiving love and compassion from others, isolating ourselves as a result, often deepening our pain.

As powerful as gratitude is, it needs to come after giving yourself the permission to simply be with your internal reality, because it is calling to be seen, heard, and deeply felt. There is no such thing as a hierarchy of suffering. Your pain is worthy of attention because it is real for you- it doesn’t come with conditions.

Give yourself permission to surrender to what is, and gratitude will unfold naturally, for authentic gratitude is a by-product of a healing heart.