I have been hearing this idea of being grateful for over 30 years. People an Anonymous programs are encourages to cultivate an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Reiki practitioners are told to “Be Grateful” each day. Most world religions in some way tell us to “Be Thankful” and “Give Thanks”. New Age promoters try to tell us that we should be grateful for the events in our lives because they bring lessons.
Really? What about those things that I’m not really grateful for?
Maybe, being grateful is over-rated.
Nearly every day when I go through social media I see images telling me I should be grateful for every single thing that has happened to me, because they gave me opportunities to grow. To be real honest, I don’t particularly like these type images, because I don’t want to be grateful for the bad shit. Face it, when the worst thing that ever happened to you is that you got a speeding ticket or flunked a class, then it’s real easy to be grateful for that event. It taught me to slow down, it taught me to study more. But, what about when that worst thing is physical or emotional abuse?, or dealing with a painful chronic health condition or a severe mental illness?
Are they saying that I should be grateful for that as well?
The traumatic events that I went through in 2012 were necessary to get me out of the rut of emotional and mental abuse that I was stuck in. Having been through them, I have emerged stronger as a person. They have given me knowledge about myself, and through that knowledge and those experiences I am able to serve others as a better healer. I am grateful for what I have gained from those events of 2012.
But, I am not grateful that those events happened.
If I could go back and somehow get out of that rut without having lost my children temporarily, without having gone through a complete mental and emotional breakdown, absolutely I would do it.
I deal every day with mental health issues – depression, anxiety, and PTSD from traumatic events in childhood and as an adult. I have physical health issues that leave me in constant low-level pain. Right now, as I am trying to type this my fingers and wrists are hurting and I am taking frequent breaks to wrap my hands around a mug of hot tea. The heat brings relief to the pain. (This is why it can take me several days to write a single blog post sometimes.) Having depression and anxiety, and PTSD doesn’t make me special. It has however helped me to become more empathetic towards others who are dealing with these and other mental health issues. The constant pain from rheumatoid arthritis lets me know first-hand what pain feels like to someone else with a chronic, painful physical health condition. I am grateful for the lessons.
But I am not grateful for cause of those lessons.
If someone could wave a magic wand or give me a magic pill that would remove every one of those mental health and physical health problems from me, I would use it in a heartbeat.
I think we do a disservice to those who are dealing with what to them are earth-shattering, traumatic events in telling them they should be grateful.
It is my opinion that I can be grateful for the lessons learned and the experiences gained throughout life, without being grateful for the events that led to those lessons and experiences.
Being grateful is sometimes over-rated.