When Challenged by Gratitude…

When Challenged by Gratitude…

There’s been a lot of discussion of the importance of gratitude and why should all write gratitude lists.   Being grateful increases our capacity for joy, optimism and happiness, it increases our motivation, strengthens our immune system and decreases our susceptibility to pain, and strengthens our social connections.

But gratitude is not always easy.

Growing up, I was a pretty angry kid, and constantly felt like I got the short end of the stick in life.   I grew up with an angry father who complained constantly, and I felt like my whole life revolved around trying to please him and fulfill his dreams.   I was miserable and couldn’t fathom the thought of being appreciative!

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. says that there are 3 main blocks that make gratitude hard:

1.)   Sometimes life isn’t fair.

We can be faced with repeated disappointments and feel like what we really want is just out of our reach.  I know I’ve felt that way often.  And when we experience too much loss, gratitude can be especially challenging!

2.)  Complaining to connect.

If you come from a family of complainers, and that has been the way you are used to connecting with others, it can be difficult to knock the habit.

3.) But I deserve better!

If you have a tendency to compare your life with the neighbors who’s grass is always greener, we can end up with a sense of entitlement.   We might tell ourselves, “The Jones have it… therefore I deserve it too!”.

I know how hard it can be to feel grateful if we’ve been faced with too many challenges.   Some of my excuses were, “On top of what I have to put up with, I’m expected to be grateful?”, or when thinking about others who were grateful, I’d say, “Well, that’s easy for him/her.. she/he doesn’t have to deal with…”.   Unfortunately, this way of thinking didn’t’ help, and things just seemed to keep getting worse for me!

But if you want good things to come your way, you have to be able to see them when they show up.   And if there’s too much negative background chatter in your head, then you won’t see the good that does come your way!

So use techniques such as EFT or contact me to clear negative chatter, the trauma of repeated disappointments and the need to complain.   I can say from personal experience that clearing blocks to gratitude makes it infinitely easier to be grateful for what you have.   And that being grateful will definitely improve your mood!

I am most grateful for my loving cat, Tuk Tuk, my wonderful and supportive friends, and most of all the opportunity to be part of and witness regular significant achievements made by my clients.

And occasionally I get emotional over winning an Amazon gift card:11794099_10153518722133944_696206364430387291_o

What are you most grateful for?   I would love to hear from you!



  1. Melanie
    Nov 24, 2012

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ll be sharing with some friends as well. Gratitude is so needed in our world today — IMHO 🙂 and I can always use another reminder. Thanks again.

  2. Tina
    Nov 25, 2012

    Thanks Melanie!

  3. Jim
    May 15, 2014

    I hadn’t thought of, ‘Complaining to connect’ aspect. I’ve had friends in the past who I think our only thing in common was our complaining.

    • Tina
      May 15, 2014

      I hear ya Jim!

      From a former professional complainer ;), I realize now that complaining was often a chance for empathy and compassion that I didn’t get growing up. It allows us to show support for one another. I don’t think complaining is necessarily always a bad thing. Besides allowing more connection between us, it can be a signal to us that things need to change. If we use it in those contexts, I think it can be healthy. But if we mire in our complaints and use them as excuses for inaction, and if we are not able to be grateful about what we do have, then I think we then need to reflect further on whether it is a healthy way to be.

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