During the month of Thanksgiving most of us feel called to recognize our blessings. We may even be called to literally recognize them publicly at a family event or through our social media relationships.
Shortly after the Society began, I spoke with someone affiliated with Thanks-Giving Square, in Dallas. He was passionate that living in gratitude was the only way to be happy. The conversation happened so long ago that I don’t remember the exact exchange, but I do remember that I said people could have happy moments without necessarily feeling grateful.
Feeling Blessed, But Not Feeling Grateful
On my worst day, I still know I live a blessed life. The key word in that sentence is KNOW – my mind knows why I’m blessed. I could make a list of my blessings at virtually any moment, including moments that aren’t happy by anyone’s definition, like when my mom passed away, the breakup of a 12-year significant relationship, or the nine months I was unemployed and financially at my stress limits. During these times of extreme sadness, uncertainty, and stress I still knew I was blessed. However, on these days, and others less stressful, there were times that I didn’t feel grateful. My head always knows my plethora of blessings, but sometimes my heart only feels the sadness, fear and frustration of my current situation.
For me, there’s no worse feeling than knowing my blessings but not feeling grateful for them. It’s not like the feeling of gratitude is unknown, but it seems to be frozen in my heart and unavailable. Then I start feeling guilty about being so stuck in my unhappy or frustrating situation and not feeling grateful for my blessings, which only makes the feelings of frustration bigger and the feeling of gratitude more evasive.
But I was able to notice that during even my unhappiest times that I wasn’t without moments of happiness. These moments allowed me to feel at least small moments of gratitude. If nothing else, I could be grateful that I had a genuine moment of happiness.
When my mom passed away, I was surrounded by friends and family who helped me navigate the emotional roller coaster of deep grief. They were there to laugh, cry and just be with me.
When a girl’s heart breaks, without question it’s her girlfriends who nurse it back to health by listening to her cry, whine and eventually find herself again. You think the cocktails are for the brokenhearted one, but they are also to help friends have the patience to listen for the umpteenth time!
During my extended unemployment I finally had to send out an email to Society members because the website was about to go dark. I couldn’t afford to pay the hosting fee that month. Then, like now, our memberships and T-shirt sales did not cover the Society expenses. However, the day that I sent that email, I got enough orders and donations to keep the Society online and up and running for the following year! I felt so much happiness and gratitude that day that I cried.
If you find yourself searching for gratitude about the good things in your life during the season of thankfulness, it’s there and one of the easiest ways to access it is to find a small moment of happiness. If nothing else, you’ll be thankful for that moment. If you’re looking for that moment, take our 31 Types of Happiness Inventory for an hour or more and you’ll most likely recognize some happiness. You might discover an insignificant moment that amuses you, feel relief about something that didn’t happen or remember that you are satisfied with a job well done.
Also, we’d love to know what you do to get that grateful feeling back ~ please comment below.
PS…you can now follow me on Instagram: AskPamelaGail