I won’t pretend that spilled lattes were the worst part of my week. A messy kitchen is a lived-in kitchen, and tea towels are easily laundered. But making coffee in a French Press is time-consuming, and this mishap first thing in the morning did elicit a string of expletives.
Look, life is uncertainty and pain. We do our best, but really have no control. Coffee spills. People die. Friendships end. It’s disheartening.
Gratitude is a way to get a handle on difficult emotions, big or small.
As coffee floods the counter, I cuss, then laugh, then find gratitude in the moment. More beans. An electric kettle. A morning in a warm house.
When someone dies, I sob, then smile, then find gratitude in the pain. They lived. They loved. I learned.
When I lose a friend, I blame, shame, then find gratitude in the experience. I gain insight. I find my worth. I embody resilience.
Gratitude practice doesn’t put a bandaid over life’s discomforts. It doesn’t gloss over them like an Instagram filter. Gratitude doesn’t dismiss pain, or invalidate loss.
Gratitude is a reset button. When I experience negative emotions, I reach out to grasp the good. The difficulties remain, but I can view them from a different perspective.
Gratitude practice gets me off the why-me train, and sets my path anew.
I don’t always feel grateful when I practice gratitude, the same way I don’t always feel like writing when I write. This is the beauty of practices, the empowering truth- we make choices. We dwell on the places of our choosing.
When I feel I’m being dragged down a negative path, I can disrupt anxiety with gratitude. It’s a line in the sand. A flag on a summit. A declaration.
I may be miserable, but dammit, I am grateful to be full of life, and to have the option!
It’s important to note that practicing gratitude doesn’t permanently revoke the why-me card. I am resilient, but my bounce back rate isn’t that of bread dough. I’ll spill coffee, be grateful I even have coffee, then bitch as I clean up coffee.
Practices are most useful when employed consistently. Fall down. Get up. Fall down. Get up. The falling down matters much less than the getting up. Little by little, I grow and heal, using gratitude practice as a reset button.