Stop telling me to be Grateful

I’m afraid that being grateful doesn’t cut it for me when I’m in a bad mood, silently seething or persistently dissatisfied.

I wish it did!

Tell me to “focus on what I’m grateful for” when I’m pissed off, and I’ll roll my eyes, and think, ‘yeah, yeah whatever. I’m grateful for the sunshine. my kids. blah blah blah.’

Somehow the word represents a Pollyanna state of mind, a person with no cares, who’s just HAPPY about everything, humbly laying down so the steamroller of life can flatten them out – and saying thank you. Whatev.  The gap between gratitude and a grumpy state of mind is vast.

Now, when I’m in a pissy mood, I WANT a way to get back to a resourceful state – that’s the outcome I’m after. But forcing myself to list out what I’m grateful for is too big of a mental shift. Doesn’t work.

Here’s a better word for me: Appreciate.

Appreciation vs Gratefulness

Here’s an example:

“I’m in a bad mood and feeling negative about X. But hey, I’m grateful for my kids, my job, my colleagues, my health…I have no clue what I’m going to do about X; maybe I’ll be let go, maybe I’m no good…”

“Even though I’m in a bad mood and feeling negative about X, I appreciate that I’m not dead, I’m still employed, I’m probably processing what happened last week, this is the best job I’ve ever had, and I can do something about it.”

Somehow I find Appreciation is a feeling I can still access, even when I’m in the middle of a funk. I come up with more genuine thoughts and insights.  My brain grudgingly acknowledges appreciation in a way it refuses to do with gratitude, and my gremlins start to loosen their stranglehold.

I see this as a fast mental question to help me bump out of bad moods.

Even better for me is writing or talking through something with my husband – but sometimes a quick fix is all you have time for.

Image credit: René DeAnda on Unsplash

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