When gratefulness isn’t good

We live in a society where it is only acceptable to show happiness, joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness. We are constantly showing our best pictures and happiest moments to each other. We are awarded positive comments and feedback when we are #blessed and #thankful.

We are uncomfortable with sorrow, pain, struggle, grief, hurt, loneliness, darkness, anger, and more. So we push it aside. We only focus on what is good. I tried that. Push aside what is hard and only see the blessings. I found out that it was only hurting me more.

I became resentful towards my grateful life. When I expressed my excruciating pain out loud, I was reminded that it could be worse. When I struggled to accept my new motherhood journey and sharing my children, I was reminded I need to be grateful that she loves my boys. When I was drowning in depression and darkness, I was reminded I have so much in my life to be thankful for.

I felt dismissed. I felt that what I was feeling in that moment wasn’t real. Wasn’t true. Wasn’t killing me inside. Now all I felt was guilt. Guilt for feeling hurt and pain rather than grateful. I felt bitterness rise up in my throat. Here I am bearing my soul and all I am told is to remember how blessed I am.

I can be grateful and feel hurt at the same time. I can have a blessed life and feel sad for what I have lost. I can show thankfulness and feel anger for what has been done to me. I NEED to feel all of these. It is vital. Why? Because I lose my joy in what I have. Allowing myself to acknowledge all my emotions, even the really hard sucky ones, I appreciate my life more.

Gratefulness doesn’t take away the pain and the hard. Nope. I still feel them all. And when I acknowledge and accept the difficult emotions, I enjoy the good I do have. My gratitude becomes real and truth rather than forced upon me. At times, I feel that gratitude is a requirement rather than a gift.

Thankfulness and gratitude isn’t automatic either. Just now two and a half years later, I can feel grateful for my divorce experience. For it allows me to have compassion and empathy for those who are struggling. I can sit with them in the pain. Months ago if I was asked if I was grateful for this grief I would have laughed in your face and said hell no. In the shame and darkness of depression, I carried the burden myself. Gratitude the last thing spewing from my lips. Today, I can say thank you Lord. My disease makes me stronger, braver, and bolder.

When I absorb the dark, I appreciate the light. My joy becomes genuine. My happiness overflows. My knees are bruised from falling upon them in thankful prayer to my Lord. God is merciful. I know He could take it all away in an instant. My place on this earth is temporary. My gifts are His grace and love for me. He has made me human and with this I am made to feel all emotions. Good and bad. Happy and painful. Love and sorrow. They go hand in hand. I can’t have one without the other. I cannot be truly blessed, thankful, or grateful without the pain, suffering, and hurt.

I am not saying don’t practice gratitude. I do this. Every day. I wake with a thankful prayer on my lips. I look around me and acknowledge the good. I work to show my loved ones I do not take them for granted. I do this. And much more. I know the power of thanksgiving and gratefulness has on a person’s heart and soul. But when it is forced. When it is fake. When it is a requirement to be seen in society. That is when gratefulness isn’t good. It becomes a burden. It becomes a chain around my neck that is choking me.

When I stopped running, when I quit dismissing my emotions, when I acknowledged my suffering, that is when I started to see. See the beauty that is my life. See the precious gifts given to me. See and feel gratitude, compassion, empathy, thankfulness, and joy. See the lovely in the dark.


8 thoughts on “When gratefulness isn’t good

  1. I LOVE this, Katie! You are so right. The positivity culture can be suffocating. Why are people so quick to dismiss the painful emotions? They are a real and meaningful part of being human, and to ignore our suffering is to say that love (which I think we all know to be quite painful at times) has no meaning. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just as all your posts do this one spoke to me. I love that you call out something maybe people feel. Along your life journey there are going to be terrible things that happen. One of my personal most hated sayings was it will happen when its time, or what is meant to be with me. In the pain, in the darkness all you long for is someone to hold you and say i know this sucks, this hurts. You don’t need the sunshine parade to come in and tell you all the things you have. Just let it be. We are all thankful for what we do have, but that doesn’t make it wrong to mourn the things we have lost or simply can’t have. Life is dynamic. I am sorry for your pain that has lead you down this path but forever grateful for your strength to share these raw emotions so no one else has to experience them alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t get me started on the phrases, if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be, it all happens for a reason, and it will happen when it happens. I cannot stand these. Diminishing our feelings, any feelings, only hurts us not helps us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy your honesty. I follow you on Facebook. I too am 1 in 5! My medication helps keep me going in the direction that I need and without it I fall apart. I am at the beginning of my journey to health (mental health being a huge factor). It’s nice to read what you have to say and know that someone else in this world “gets it” . This article is one that I’ll be sharing with friends! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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