How to embrace uncertainty through gratitude during hard times

Our real test begins when we try and feel thankful in such hopeless times. When we spend our time and energy focusing on the things that we have earned rather than the ones which we haven’t, we will naturally start feeling a little more grateful.

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The feeling of uncertainty, hopelessness, and anxiousness has held the most significance in this pandemic. And, it is not like that earlier we didn’t feel lost, or we didn’t suffer but, we all had that belief within us that no matter what we will get out of this, despite all the reroutes we might face in our way. However, today we all are living with uncertainty, because none of us, know when we will be able to get out of this pandemic and when will we be able to embrace and live by the “new normal”

I wouldn’t be living under a wrong presumption, if I say that during such forlorn times we all have encountered and are probably living with the negative feelings of envy, pessimism, selfishness, anxiety and the worst of all- the feeling of ungratefulness. Let us face it- we all are fatigued, we all feel unproductive and we all sometimes feel dissatisfied with our existing life. Because honestly, no matter how hard we try there are not many reasons for us to find for which we can feel grateful. 

However, in the past few months, I have realised that our real test begins when we try and feel thankful in such hopeless times. When we spend our time and energy focusing on the things that we have earned rather than the ones which we haven’t, we will naturally start feeling a little more grateful.  

About 2-3 months back, I was dwelling into the state of total despondency. I didn’t have a secured job(I still don’t) and the chances of me earning one in such unfortunate times are pretty scarce. Everything I did, everything I saw was backed with the constant feeling of anxiousness, envy, self-loathing and ultimately despair. At the same time, I really longed to enjoy this time of lockdown; to bake banana bread, learn a new activity, and read more books. Even if I would try and keep myself occupied by indulging in an activity, at the end of the day I couldn’t help but think about all of those things I don’t have in my life. And, honestly, I had all the things to be grateful for but, I was so blinded by my own negative emotions that I couldn’t look and think beyond it. 

If I look around, many residents of my country are literally struggling to meet their ends, many are forced to live on the streets and many have lost their loved ones. And, after comparing my situation with the “real struggles” of people, I came to realise that I have stepped far away from humility. 

For the past 3 months, whenever I feel the emotions of negativity building inside of me, whenever I feel my heart palpitating, whenever I feel restless and uneasy, I have made it a habit to spend time with myself, acknowledging all of these negative emotions and letting myself feel all the pain. Although, I am also wary of not letting this temporary feeling of pain take control over me. I keep giving myself constant affirmations; an affirmation that all of this pain is temporary, that I know there is hope out there and I need to keep the faith alive and push myself to move forward in life.

I totally understand that sometimes it just becomes difficult for all of us to feel grateful. There are a few ways which I have learned that have helped me in expressing gratitude. I hope it will help you all as well:

Step 1: Accept our emotions- This is the most important thing to do whenever we feel any sort of emotions or thoughts rushing through our body; be it good or bad, negative or positive. We do not want to be living in a total state of denial or embrace toxic positivity because it can pull us far away from reality.  Every day, it is important to sit and spend some time with ourselves. Accept and embrace all of the feelings that we have encountered throughout the day,  and most importantly to not feel guilty for any of it because we are human beings and it is completely normal to feel any sort of negative emotions, especially during such times. Also, we need to remember that until we accept them fully, we cannot expect ourselves to work on our flaws and grow forward from them. 

Step 2: Share/communicate how we feel- There is no denial in the fact that communication is the key for any relationship to survive. And, if we aim to build a strong, loyal relationship with ourselves, we need to communicate our thoughts. And, the best way to do this is by maintaining a Journal.  Journaling is the best way to share our feelings, our emotions and our thoughts. By maintaining our journal regularly, we relieve all of our tensions on the paper and can see beyond the cloud of thoughts formed in our mind. So, let us make a habit of writing regularly for 10 minutes and eventually we will see that this will become our habit.

Step 3: Know that all of this is temporary-  Now that we have accepted and communicated our emotions, thoughts with ourselves, it is time for us to let ourselves know that all of this is temporary. We need to tell ourselves that we will get out of this pain and that we need to remain hopeful and have faith because these are the only two things that will help us in finding the strength, and the motivation to keep moving and evolving in life.

Step 4: Expressing gratitude- This is what I do every morning after waking up and every night before turning the lights off. I say a prayer(which is my religious mantra) and after that, I say two-three things I am grateful for.  Once we make this our habit, we will realise that there are many things in life for which we should have expressed our gratitude but instead, we focused on all of the things that we don’t have. Believe me, expressing gratitude is the best way to feel more optimistic, and present our lives. Also, it helps us in reflecting upon all of those things we have earned in our lives rather than feeling despair and anxiety for all of the things which we cannot control in our lives.

In the end, we need to know that we all are suffering through anxiety, grief and apathy during such hard and uncertain times. However, we need to have hope and faith in life because these are our saviours in the journey of healing ourselves.  So, wake up every day with the feeling of gratitude and hope, have faith in the path you have embarked upon, work on yourself every day, be patient and proud of your progress, and most importantly be kind to yourself

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