Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Exploring idea that you can have everything you need but still hope for more.
Have you ever felt guilty for wanting more than you have? Or rather, felt like there's always someone worse off so you should have unwavering appreciation for what you have? One of the most complex areas for me to hold space in is the gray. Like many people, I have a very black and white way of thinking. Or at least my natural inclination is to think in the black and white. But as I grow and evolve, I've stopped rolling my eyes at the idea of gray space and started to see the value in it. The COVID19 pandemic and the civil unrest has driven me to really push myself to a level of uncomfortability in my own beliefs and that's where I discovered this paradox of hope and gratitude.
Practicing gratitude can have profound effects on your mental health. In addition, it can improve sleep, self esteem, and physical health, according to Amy Morin LCSW in the "7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude" article. I'm totally geeking over her 2017 book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success. Snag it on Amazon... you won't regret it.
You can practice gratitude through words of affirmations, meditation or even prayer. Over the last two years I have spent hours of therapy, meditation and conversations of inner self-talk to really practice an attitude of gratitude. I was never an ungrateful person but my natural inclination is cynicism. It takes conscious effort for me to see the good in people and things. So in my evolution of discovering gratitude, I ran into a wall. What do I do when things don't feel great? When I want to move on from what I have and get more? I wasn't sure.
What happens when you start to face difficult situations, complacency, or are ready to advance from current circumstances? How do you practice gratitude without feeling guilty for wanting more?
Danielle Dowling puts it best when she states, "Unfortunately, our desire for more can feel like a betrayal to our reality", in the "How To Be Grateful & Want More at the Same Time" article. I stumbling upon this article early in my quest to balance my gratitude and desires and realized that these concepts aren't mutually exclusive.
It’s okay to wish for different circumstances while fully appreciating the circumstances that you have now. You can wish for a new house while being grateful for the one you have. You can have hope you’ll get another job one day while having faith your hard work will pay off in the job you have now.
The key is to focus on the good that you have and understand how you got there in order to replicate and multiply it.
Have you ever heard the saying, positive energy attracts positive energy? It's taken me years to fully understand what that means. By living in the moment and appreciating current circumstances, you can open yourself for new circumstances. But if you are constantly judging and focusing on what you don't have, you will never have enough. Complaining is a vicious cycle that we all participate in to some degree but can really suck the joy and life out of even the biggest blessings.
Give yourself the ability to hope. You aren’t ungrateful, you're determined.
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