The Problem with Gratitude

A couple of months ago social media went berserk with “grateful” challenges. It seemed that everyone hopped on the proverbial bandwagon, cymbals clanging…drums beating…trumpets honking.

Our business was up and running but I had personally hit a rough patch. It was like I was a balloon sailing merrily along with the wind when all of a sudden I developed a tiny little hole. Not enough to blow the whole thing up at once, but enough to have me whining steadily and losing air.

Grateful challenges had people sharing how wonderful their lives were, how much they loved everyone, how green their grass was. How stinking happy they were. I decided not to participate because I was quite content at that moment with the noise coming out of the tiny little hole in my balloon. I felt I had the right be unhappy and was going to enjoy it for a bit.

I did. I did enjoy it for a bit. Every morsel of pain I chewed on for awhile…getting the full flavor out of it. Every bit of sorrow I swilled around in my mouth so I could taste the fullness of it. Every difficulty I swallowed so that I felt the satisfaction of being fed by it.

Until the grateful challenge. Until a random comment from a stranger in my store helped me realize why I didn’t want to be grateful.

Gratefulness won’t let me feel sorry for myself! And at that moment I was working the false humility angle by feeling sorry for myself. Bad.

Gratefulness won’t let me be selfish! And it was ALL about me at that point. Didn’t I ALWAYS do…, wasn’t it ALWAYS me who…won’t I EVER be able to…Wrong.

Gratefulness won’t let me be unkind! Oh the deliciously horrid thoughts we can conjure up when hard done by. The sheer genius and creativity we all of a sudden possess when we want to get back at someone. Nasty.

The strangers comment? All he said was…being grateful is having the gift of looking at the same set of circumstances with a new pair of eyes. Whammo. Done. Finished.