Cultivate an attitude of gratitude!
Be grateful for the challenges in your life! They made you who you are today!
Gratitude is everything!
These phrases are, on face value, kind of true. In most cases, we can be grateful for the surface-level challenges in our life and look back on them as character-building exercises. For me, it was, strangely, a mildly abusive relationship – not violent enough to put me in the hospital, but enough to teach me a hard, in-person lesson about Narcissitic Personality Disorder. Lesson learned, and now twenty years later I can be grateful it wasn’t worse, the end.
In our society and the subsequent multi-billion-dollar Wellness Industrial Complex™, we love gratitude. How many Pintrest boards have you seen dedicated to memes on gratitude? How often does it cross your newsfeed? How often has a friend recommended “The Secret” and said something about how your outlook is preventing good things in your life? Gratitude is a concept we tend to put on a pedestal – to the point that if we aren’t grateful for everything in our lives, the good and the bad, there is a problem with us.
However…. To be forced into gratitude against our body’s will is Toxic Gratitude. Sometimes being grateful for our challenges is just not in the cards. For people who are the victims of indescribable trauma and abuse at the hands of others, arriving at gratefulness can be a bridge too far to cross.
And I am here to say: That’s okay. It is literally okay to never, ever be thankful for what happened to you. Period, full stop. And it doesn’t mean you are “less-than” all the other people with the Pinterest boards of gratitude memes.
Just yesterday I was working with a client who has years of traumatic family abuse in their past. This person has been working to process and move beyond their trauma and The Divine was very clear in Its messaging. It said, “Acceptance and gratitude are not the same thing. You are 100% percent allowed to accept what happened to you, and still think of it as really crappy. You are allowed to continue living without forcing yourself to gratefully accept it. Forgiveness and acceptance are important for dis-engaging yourself from the power the trauma has over you, but gratitude is not necessary.” So drop that expectation like it’s hot!
Basically, I care about you. And if you are moving through life, carrying the load of trauma or abuse — or even if you are still going through it now! — please heed those words and consider laying your burden down, knowing that laying it down doesn’t mean having to hug it and love it too.
With all love and blessings,