The phases of gratitude I've gone through
Table of Contents
I used to be a really unhappy person. I suffered from anxiety, depression, insomnia, anger, rage, and jealousy. On the outside, I appeared active and healthy, but on the inside, I was in pain and was extremely unsatisfied with life and myself.
I lived through a lot of chaos and suffering before I was able to see what my role was in the situations that were causing me harm.
Then I found meditation and started practicing daily. Along with that, I started a daily gratitude practice. Today we will talk about the evolution of that gratitude practice.
Phase 1: The Journal
I started journaling a bulleted list of things I was grateful for, every day. Even when I was feeling bad, I would do it. In the beginning, I didn’t notice much of a difference. But as time went on, I started to notice I was feeling much less negative.
That was the first time in my life I ever felt like that. Less weighed down. More neutral. Potentially more positive.
My perspective was shifting from that of lack and scarcity, to that of abundance and grace.
Phase 2: My Thoughts
As I continued to dedicate a daily gratitude practice in my journal, I started to notice that it was soon becoming my thoughts. I was becoming more present (thanks to meditation), and was able to notice things I was grateful for more frequently. It was easier to voice out loud to others, and I believe it started to inspire those around me to be grateful too.
For me, it was becoming easier to become grateful on a more regular basis. Gratitude makes you feel good.
Phase 3: Gratitude For The Hard Times (Past or Present)
As I have devoted myself to a spiritual path, I've started to look back on really hard times with a sense of softness and gratitude. Some of the darkest times of my life became the catalysts for my greatest growth. Life will always have ups and downs, and I realized that all of them are for our greatest and highest evolution.
When you can look back on hard times and be grateful, that is extremely powerful. And when you can go through something difficult and feel the light when times are a little easier, that's gratitude as well.
Nowadays, I practice gratitude when I am feeling unsettled or anxious. Gratitude is a great antidote to anxiety.
Whenever I feel burned out, or tired, or frustrated, I practice gratitude then. When I see a difficult patient on my telephone list at work, I start being grateful to them. Grateful to talk to them, grateful to serve.
This has allowed me to feel my feelings with a sense of openness and curiosity, rather than resistance. You can’t be grateful and complain at the same time.
Moreover, I am grateful to know what my feelings are, even if they aren’t always pleasant. Some people aren’t even aware of their feelings. What’s even wilder - some of those difficult patients I secretly expressed gratitude to have incidentally expressed gratitude back to me the same day.
Remember when I said your inner world matches your outer world?
The Bottom Line
Gratitude is an opener. It’s a beautiful way to open yourself up to receiving really good things. It’s a way of up-leveling your energy and living from an abundant perspective.
Gratitude makes others feel welcome. Gratitude improves your relationships.
Gratitude can carry us through hard times (of course, while honoring all of our feelings).
Fun fact: Oprah has a daily gratitude practice, too. She writes 5 things that she is grateful for every single day (in full sentences), and she has kept all of her gratitude journals for over 30 years.
Do you have a daily gratitude practice? Would you like to start one? What is one thing you are grateful for right now? What about 5 more things? Is this easy or hard for you to do?
Y'all have an amazing week!
"Gratitude is the power to connect with the cosmos and harness its energy.” - Sukant Ratnakar
Sage Elephant Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.