GRATITUDE: EXPECTATION VS REALITY
First, of, I don’t think i qualify as someone who should be writing on this topic, however, imperfect this is what my mind is saying this period.
I have spent the larger part of this year complaining about how this year should have panned out. This was not our plan in 2020.
I realised that all the time I complain I get really angry and bitter. I either go jogging or do yoga, Just to ease of my pain. Sometimes I feel like going on a mountain top and screaming out my lungs, Just to let out the pain.
The weekend of the 20/10/2020, as I was jogging, I was weeping. My mind was in pains that words could not explain. No personal experience or close relative experience either of covid or endsars protesters. As I felt the pain that this year alone had given us, I couldn’t put together how families of victims were feeling.
On a discussion with a friend, after complaining, I said: ” being alive and breathing is a sign of hope.” Immediately, in my mind, I was like “sometimes I envy the dead though, I consider them luckier than I.” His reply was that problem no dey finish so long as you have breath in you.
Your experience of the year is unique to you. Don’t feel bad for your feelings. There is no need for comparison on who get problem pass. Allow your emotions. But don’t dwell in it forever.
At this rate, depression and anxiety rates are skyrocketing. General unhappiness, numbness and dissatisfaction are basically the expected norm.
I had a better understanding of gratitude from Yoga and meditation. It comes with practice. If you have gone through or currently going through great turbulence, practising gratitude will be very difficult at the beginning.
Gratitude implies gratefulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple delights, and recognizing all that you receive. Gratitude helps you put things in better perspective. It isn’t an escape route from reality but it is a flashlight to help you get through hard times.
Feelings are valid
What sounds like a piece of good advice but isn’t? When you are sharing your dark experiences with someone and the person is telling you to at least be thankful it is not something worse. Basically dismissing your right to feel that kind of way. This is a bad culture i find prominent in the church. “Let’s thank God we are in the sanctuary not in the mortuary” (LOL, some rhymes) Or thank God you can carry your hands, like those without are less of any person.
I hate it when I am trying to be expressive about my being sad and unhappy, then someone tries to water down my experience with another, then making me feel sad for feeling sad maybe because my ‘problem’ isn’t as serious as others.
Your feelings are valid regardless.
What is not allowed is dwelling on it and making it rob you of happiness and joy. Also forcing yourself to be grateful when you don’t feel it might lead to frustration and guilt.
Focus on the gain rather than the gap
Don’t focus on the gap. That is what is missing. For example, At the beginning of the lockdown, my house was sealed by Lagos state-building agency. They left the pedestrian door opened, meaning we still had access to the house. But my mind chose to focus on the fact that it was locked- the gap. This lasted for about 4 months, now imagine if it was locked completely with no access. But during that period I chose to focus on the fact that they prevented our cars access into our house coupled with the fact that it was a bit embarrassing.
Most times in our life we choose to focus on the gap rather than live in the gain. Focusing on the gain means measuring yourself with your past rather than your ideals. So in my scenario, I choose to focus on the gain, that is, my family is not locked out and we have a roof over our head. Being in the gap makes you think things cannot change.
For some, this might be very difficult, however, it is not impossiple.
Things gratitude transforms
- When you cultivate the habit of gratitude, say 15-30 minutes of strategic gratitude and visualization, you automatically activate your mind and emotions to work at an optimal level throughout the day.
- It helps you shift the focus from what your life lacks to what you have
- Also, improves your health.
- It also helps you in treating people better. No transfer of aggression.
- It helps you address problems better. Since you are totally in control.
Gratitutde shouldn’t be used as a tool for denial or avoidance.
How to practice gratitude
- One of the best ways to express gratitude is by journaling. Every day writes three to ten things you are grateful for in each day.
- Meditation. Being quiet and still makes you reflective and helps you count your blessings.
- It is the festive season soon, a lot of NGOs would be involved in community service. Join one. when you share the happiness you in turn get happy.
Meanwhile, these albums I believe will help you in practicing gratitude https://music.apple.com/ng/album/hunger-from-our-heart-to-yours-live/1532373226