I'm all for an attitude of gratitude, in fact I've spent a lot of time blogging about it over the past 3-4 years.
If you'd prefer to read a nice, happy, focus on the positive blog post to celebrate gratitude, then my advice is to cut your losses now and head over to one of these other posts:
- The Attitude of Gratitude
- Can You Always Find The Gratitude?
- Are You Grateful When Things Don't Work Out The Way You Planned or Expected?
- How Often Do You Thank YOU?
If you're looking for a real, honest, pull no punches, I wanna get down to the nitty-gritty post, keep reading.
As we know, gratitude is a game-changer.
It's the antidote to a lot of the emotions we label as 'negative'.
It's not possible to feel gratitude and fear at the same time, it's not possible to feel gratitude and anger at the same time, it's not possible to feel gratitude and judgment at the same time.
In fact a good old dose of gratitude can pretty much help you feel better in the midst of any emotional challenge.
...and therein lies the problem.
Feeling authentically grateful, because that's the emotion that's primary in your life at any point in time is wonderful.
But the challenge for a lot of us is that we try to use gratitude as a tool, to avoid, or distract ourselves from the other emotions we're feeling and experiencing. In short, to make ourselves feel better when we're really feeling something else instead.
I mean, who'd want to feel angry, if you can go for gratitude instead?
Who'd choose sadness over feeling grateful?
Who'd opt for disappointment over being thankful?
When we are faced with the alternative of something that, let's face it, feel's pretty crappy, why would you feel that over something that feels so much better?
Well, the answer is, because every emotion serves a purpose. It's our body's way of processing the experiences that we're having. If we feel angry, there's a reason for it, something has happened to trigger anger in us and it's important for us to allow ourselves to be in the emotion, to feel the anger fully, in order that it can serve its purpose and we can learn from it and let it go.
If we don't allow ourselves to feel it, we don't ever really process the situation, instead we end up holding onto it (and the emotion), and it just sits deep inside us festering and fermenting away until one day it pops up unexpectedly out of nowhere and rears it's ugly head.
Because now we're not just dealing with the emotion, we're dealing with the emotion + interest.
Being thanksgiving this week, I was going to write an article today about gratitude.
I had a few options available to me.
Maybe a piece about how shifting to a perspective of gratitude towards your partner instead of focusing on their shortcomings can transform a relationship (which it can, by the way).
Or a nice article on how feeling grateful for our heartbreaks can transform the experience and help you to see how each one has given you something and contributed to your learning along the way (again, a very valid topic), along similar lines to the final section in this piece.
Or perhaps a blog about how being grateful for yourself is the first step to having a better relationship with anyone (another important thing to know).
And then I realised that there are a million articles like that out there (especially today of all days) but not very many that actually give you permission NOT to be thankful when you're actually feeling something else.
For example, I do genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason in life. I do believe that every heartbreak taught me something. I do believe that each broken heart ultimately was a gift. It was something to be grateful for.
But in the moment, at the point at which you can feel your heart shattering into a million pieces, if someone comes along and points out that it's for the best and one day you'll be grateful that this has happened, your first instinct is to say "F*ck That!"
Not "I don't feel that way at the moment," not "I'm sorry, but this feels crappy and I'm not ready to see the silver lining yet," but literally "F*ck That."
The F word has a certain power to it. If it's used all the time, it can lose that power and just becomes another word in your vocabulary. But if it's used sparingly and only when that level of emphasis and charge is needed, it can be very cathartic.
Because trying to make yourself feel better when you're in the midst of a painful experience is an insult to your emotions. It diminishes and dishonours what you're going through.
And if anyone is trying to diminish your emotions and your experience (whether it's you or someone else), the "F*ck that" response says: That's not acceptable. I will not allow it. No.
That is a response you have every right to, because this is you respecting yourself, respecting your emotions, respecting your experience and taking back your power.
Not only do you have every right to say "F*ck That," but it's actually preferable.
Because you can't get to genuine gratitude unless you go through the emotions first.
And at that point, at the point of pain, the situation just plain sucks.
It's not good.
There seems no reason good enough for the fact that you're feeling the way you feel.
You don't want to feel it.
You don't like feeling it.
But doing anything else is ultimately doing yourself a disservice.
So cry. Wail. Shout and scream. Sob into a cushion, and beat the crap out of a beanbag (my personal favourite in situations like these).
Talk to Friends. Spend a day under the duvet.
Be with it.
Be in it.
And when it's served its purpose, you then have the choice to be able to release the emotion and let it go.
Then you can begin to think clearly about it.
You can begin to get some perspective. You can start to look for the lessons, the learnings, the gifts.
At this point you can allow yourself to step into gratitude, and step into it fully, completely, unreservedly and whole-heartedly.
So the next time you find yourself feeling a strong 'negative' emotion, you have my full permission to say "F*ck That" to that false, distracting gratitude, and instead allow yourself to actually feel what's there first.
Because when you go through the emotion first, you can actually get to the other side, after which you can get to genuine gratitude.
Put simply, saying "F*ck that" to false gratitude is the path to experiencing REAL gratitude.
...and there are very few things more powerful in this world than genuine, from the heart, I feel it in my soul gratitude.
I invite you to Tweet the Love... Saying f*ck that to false gratitude is the path to REAL gratitude @LovePPassion
Now I'd like to know what you think. Have you learned to say "F*ck That" to false gratitude? Have you experienced it as the path to real, genuine gratitude? Does it feel like an edge for you? Does this resonate with you? Or do you think I'm totally wrong? Is it something that feels uncomfortable? What have YOUR experiences with this been?
And on thanksgiving I give you permission to say "F*ck That" to cheap imitations of gratefulness, the ones employed to distract, avoid and 'make us feel better', and instead to make the powerful choice to only embrace and express gratitude that is real.
In the short-term it can feel like it sucks, but in the long-term it's the key to real, genuine emotional freedom.
And there's no other feeling like it.