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22.3.17

Grateful for the bad stuff

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Gratitude has changed me. I used to feel so sorry for myself (Years ago, I mean. I am so much wiser now!). Everyone else was to blame for my problems. I didn’t say so, of course. I tried to stay positive. ‘Yes, I got retrenched,’ I’d say. ‘But as one door closes, another one opens…’ I felt I was being false. Still, it’s a good thing I didn’t have the guts to say what I thought; it wasn’t pretty.

Today, practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways I can transform my mood if I’m in a funk. Yes, it does take practice. Old habits die hard. For example, in the past, I could only be grateful for big-ticket items: a new job, for example. Today, I feel grateful for the small things: the smell of coffee, a smile, or someone offering me their seat of the crowded tram (come to think of it, that’s a big one!).

There’s just one little problem – I can feel like a feeble-minded goody-goody when I write out a gratitude list. I don’t know; there is something about being an ungrateful a-hole that fills me with energy, even if it is the wrong kind.

The ‘ingratitude’ list

Imagine my delight when reading a little book called “Gratitude” – books continue to change my life – that challenged me to try a new gratitude practice.

You might like it, too:

  • Write a list of everything you feel ungrateful for.
  • Now, be grateful for all those things.

So, why am I writing about gratitude and ingratitude in my blog?

Writing can get frustrating. As authors, we become wracked by self-pity and self-doubt. An author’s ‘ingratitude’ list might look like this:

I am so ungrateful that I:

  • Have no time to write.
  • Can’t think of a single idea.
  • Have so many ideas that I can’t decide which one to write first.
  • Am tongue-tied when I try to put my thoughts into words.
  • Spend hours on one paragraph and then delete it.
  • Keep losing momentum.
  • Can’t focus.
  • Am wracked with fear that my peers will laugh at my book/blog.
  • Think my ideas look ridiculous when I commit them to paper.

Can any author become grateful for such a list of horrors? I think so. Here are some of the reasons to become grateful for this list.

Energy

It’s surprisingly energising to write such a list. It’s even better to say it out loud – just to yourself.

Honesty

Acknowledge your struggles without indulging, blaming or whining about why stuff goes wrong.

Perspective

I cannot explain why a chocolate poodle ran in front of my bike six weeks ago and caused me to fall and injure myself. But when I say out loud that I am grateful for it, the splash of absurdity does me a power of good.

Transformation

These problems are faced by every author, in every corner of the globe. You are joining the tribe.

Challenge

It is easy to feel grateful for the good stuff; feeling grateful for the bad stuff is hard. And yet gratitude works it’s magic just as well on the ‘ingratitude’ list.

PS: Want more? You might like: Impassioned or biased: Which one are you?

 

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