The Gratitude Complex

Have an attitude of gratitude… I see it everywhere. On journals and memes, on tank tops and mugs, on water bottles and hoodies and morning checklists.  “List 3 things you are grateful for.” Yes…gratitude is important. Being thankful for what you have can go a long way with reminding us to be present, humble, considerate […]

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Have an attitude of gratitude…

I see it everywhere. On journals and memes, on tank tops and mugs, on water bottles and hoodies and morning checklists. 

“List 3 things you are grateful for.”

Yes…gratitude is important. Being thankful for what you have can go a long way with reminding us to be present, humble, considerate and find reasons for happiness during tough times.

But lately, talking with other women and clients about life and all that is going on...I have started to notice something.

Many women, in the throws of life: raising children and caring for parents, building careers and managing an evolving and bustling household…are left with a little something extra from their gratitude…I couldn’t QUITE put my finger on it…but then, like a name finally coming to you 2 days after you couldn’t recall it…there is was. 

GUILT.

Can I have a side of guilt with my gratitude please? 

Inside of you, you want more, you want better, you want different.

But you have SO much. Be GRATEFUL for all that you have. 

GUILT.

Do men struggle with this? I would argue not as much. But we will save that for a different conversation. 

Here is what I know about this ‘gratitude complex’ that is plaguing the women’s movement in the 21st century. 

Often when I am talking to clients I ask them to tell me about their day…everything about it. ALL OF THE THINGS.

Your alarm goes off and then what? 

It can take a few questions, but in the end I watch as her eyes resonate how LARGE this list is. How MUCH she does in a day. She didn’t even realize. No wonder she is exhausted, lacking in self care and day dreaming of something different. 

But instead of doing something different, exploring options, pondering working less or having less stuff to have more time, instead of figuring out how to make space in life to laugh so hard you cry, to sit in quiet moments without simultaneously making lists or doing laundry or dentist appointments…we freeze up as guilt starts to seep in. 

“I have so much, I should be grateful for all that I have.”

Guilt. 

They say doubt kills more dreams than failure. Well guilt is the new doubt. It keeps you stuck, burnt out and lost sister.

How many times have you thought about a different way, an opportunity, a chance to make something more beautiful and true for your life, but you didn’t follow through because of guilt? 

So we stay in our burnout cycle, and our body continues to carry all of the stress, and we gain weight and lose confidence and let go of dreams. 

But you are grateful for all that you have right?! RIGHT?!?!

This is a deeply ingrained behaviour…rooted in our society and even in our soul. But the first step to unravel anything, is bringing light to it. See it for what it is. Talk about it, expose it, recognize when it is happening so you can breathe and LET. IT. GO. This is how we give our body the space to breathe, to heal, to let go of excess weight. 

Sister, next time you order up some gratitude, ask to hold the guilt. 

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