The Problem with Gratitude

Gratefulness can be another spiritual bypass trap. I think gratefulness IS a divine virtue, but like forgiveness, it’s got to be authentic. I can sit around here and tell you all what I am grateful about, but unless I really mean it and unless I am TRULY embodying it through my own ACTIONS, it’s just a word salad geared to get you to be impressed with how grateful I am. …because I want people to like me.

Just like with forgiveness, gratitude is a natural organic byproduct of healing. Give people time. They will feel it when they have had enough loss in their life. Loss and the grief revolved around loss whether it’s the loss of people or things, generates real authentic gratefulness. How about  if you go to your bank account one day and your money was all gone and there was no way to get reimbursed because the system crash that caused it was too severe? What if you lost your house in a tornado? What if you lost your best friend? If we are here to cultivate and express gratitude as our life plan, our spirit guides might see to it that we experience loss to meet those ends. That’s how the real Law of Attraction works. Life sorts it all out for us, so we don’t need spiritual lectures from spiritual teachers who don’t really understand how Life actually works.

Just like with forgiveness, premature inauthentic gratefulness can be another means to bypass difficult emotions and memories. Not that there’s anything wrong with conscious bypassing, but it’s good to point out that so many of us work hard to get others to bypass since we may feel so uncomfortable around emotions and complaints. For example, if someone is having an awful today, it is more healthy for them to be present with and feel the emotions that day is bringing up so they can heal and be triggered less in the future. Knowing that others might be having a worse day might take the edge off, but by doing that, we are using spirituality to bypass the very emotions that can lead us to the best, most authentic versions of ourselves.

I know some people might mean well when they recommend gratitude, but for those of us who are on the path to authenticity, for us, it sounds like we need to be fake in order to be lovable. If you ever wonder why being authentic is so hard, this is why. It’s due to the societal pressure you and I put on others to be happy, forgiving, grateful, …anything but who we are, anything but human. So we learn at an early age to unconsciously manipulate people into liking us by feigning spiritual virtues because otherwise we’d be all alone. Authenticity = loneliness. We go out of our way to prevent becoming lonely. ..hence so many of us, unknowingly, wear a mask. Premature gratitude is a part of that mask.

I will tell you my husband isn’t able to be grateful. You don’t know where he has been and the demons he is battling with or his programming, all the role models he grew up around… He literally cannot be grateful and that frustrated me. But then I realized that this was a problem with me and not him. What is it with me that I couldn’t accept the absence of his gratitude? I wonder if he had been triggering off my own inner cantankerous curmudgeon because I do have a whiny side to me just like him.

When we put pressure on others to be fake, it’s selfish. If someone cannot feel gratitude, they cannot feel it. Let them be. It’s where they are in THIS moment. If we are the spiritual badasses we think we are, we will have compassion and understanding for all people instead of trying to mold them into whom they are not.

We just need to let people be who they are and if we cannot accept them in all their glory, we need to look inside to see where that may be coming from because technically the ungrateful party is doing nothing wrong.

Find out why ungratefulness triggers you. Find out why it’s important for YOU for others to have gratitude. Take this opportunity to learn something about yourself and how you can heal that part of yourself that cannot tolerate the limits in others.

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