“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie, American author
Life is meant to be a teacher through experiences, life is meant to knock you down and then help you get back up, life is designed to help you change through occurrences that break you down and help you discover who you truly are as it’s building you back up.
In an interview I did last week that just premiered on Success Magazine, Best Selling Author Cy Wakeman brought up the word Toxic Positivity. We talked about the dangers of it and we also talked about gratitude.
I immediately thought back to the time that T.D. Jakes told me about change, that real change starts with humility. During the interview, I thought about getting humility through gratitude, by being grateful not just for the good that happens, but for what happens overall.
Here's where I'm going to challenge you.
Cy Wakeman challenged me with her way of looking at gratitude. She doesn't choose to label what is “good” and what is “bad” instead she does her best to look at occurrences and accepts them as they come. She looks to hold her opinion of any situation and by doing so she inadvertently chooses to look for opportunities for growth or at least something that she can learn from. The goal is to be grateful for as much as you can be in your life.
I think most of us have been conditioned to be grateful only for the good in our lives. When we write in our journals what we are grateful for, we typically write down all of the things that we see as good or a blessing.
As I thought deeper about this I came up with a term for this bias that we seem to have. I call it Toxic Gratitude. Just like toxic positivity you aren’t truly being real with yourself about what’s really happening. When we choose to label things as “good” or “bad” we don't let them develop into what they can truly be.
With Toxic Gratitude, we don't let our lives develop into something greater because we shut things down in our minds that we label as bad. In fact, some of us consistently play scenarios over and over in our minds, scenarios that we deem as bad and cause us to have anxiety, sadness, and depression.
Toxic Gratitude is when you only look at the good in your life and label anything that makes you feel negative emotions as something bad.
We're so caught up in the pain and the emotion of the moment that we begin to miss life's purpose. We must look to be grateful for other occurrences that are just “merely good”, like ones that are adversarial. Things that challenge us will eventually change us for the better.
Sometimes through pain and sometimes through tears, but whatever the tough emotion I know it's hard to see past the immediate feeling because I’ve been there too. The fact is that when we label things as good or bad we don't allow things to develop in our lives and that's when we start missing the overall picture of what life is.
We are designed to withstand hard things. We are resilient. Put away Toxic Gratitude and learn to be grateful for more than just what you think is good in your life.
Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.