Finding Gratitude in the Depths of Grief
In this episode we'll be discussing how to be grateful, even in times of grief.
I'll be sharing my own personal path to gratitude and also sharing tips to find gratitude yourself. It may take practice, but gratitude can help you move forward, even in your darkest days. We will also be talking about how to forgive your past self and move forward toward the future.
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Transcription of This Week’s Episode:
Gratitude is a funny thing to me. I feel like gratitude can be a tool for major healing as well as a tool for incredible amounts of shame. I remember in the depths of my journey through grief, people would say things like, “Well you should just be grateful for ____” or “Find things in your life to be grateful for!” But at the time, my life was a straight up mess and I wasn’t really grateful for much of anything. My circumstances and life were flipped on their heads and I was supposed to be grateful for what was happening to me?
And when I did think of things I was grateful for, they all felt really superficial. I mean, obviously I was grateful for a place to live and my husband, family and dog. But beyond that, I had a really hard time finding things to be grateful for.
It wasn’t for a few months after we moved away from a really, really tough situation that I started to focus on finding things to be grateful for. And in full transparency, the things I was grateful for WERE pretty superficial. I was grateful that my place of work had unlimited Dr. Pepper on tap. I was grateful that we had a garage for our car during the winter. I was grateful that our commute was cut down from an hour each way to five minutes.
Slowly, over time, I was able to find gratitude for my circumstance change. I was able to find gratitude for my journey and for the friendships I was making along the way. I was able to find my voice and begin educating others on the realities of grief during infertility (I did NOT talk about the other things I had recently experienced with emotional abuse because I wasn’t ready to talk about it… in fact, I didn’t even recognize it as such at the time, but that’s another story for another time.).
As YOU travel through your grief journey, I want to invite you to seek gratitude in your daily life. Not because I want to dismiss your experiences, but because I want you to know and notice that goodness and grief can coexist. I want you to notice the small love notes that the universe is sending to you each day. I want you to see the small messages of purpose that are being sent to you each and every day. Gratitude is healing. Gratitude is humbling. Gratitude is magic. Gratitude allows you to move forward, even through your darkest days.
There are a few different ways to practice gratitude. A few of my favorite ways to practice gratitude are:
- Writing things down that you’re grateful for.
- Meditating and thinking specifically about the things you are grateful for.
- Saying prayers of only gratitude and not asking for anything.
- Thanking people who have served or helped me. (Just practicing saying “Thank you” more often, too!)
- Writing thank you notes
- Doing something kind for someone without expecting praise or thanks.
- Taking photos of moments I don’t want to forget
Your gratitude practices may be different than mine and that’s okay! Gratitude is deeply personal and is different for everyone.
Something else that I have been working on recently in my own healing journey is allowing my past self to have been the best version of me at that time. I think a lot of the time, we look back on our past selves in shame or regret because we could have said something different or we should have acted a different way. I know I have. I used to cringe at my past self for her quick judgments and snide remarks and one-sided way of thinking. But as I think back on her, I realize that she truly was doing the best with the knowledge and experiences she had. At a retreat I went to this year, someone said the following and it touched me so deeply, “Every version of me has served a purpose, but there may be times when I need to thank my past self for what she taught me and then allow her to move on… I need to allow myself to move forward.”
It was after hearing that, when I realized that I needed to allow myself to move forward. From ALL of the guilt and shame that I’ve been holding on to over the years. That I needed to thank myself for trying her best and allow that to be enough for her. I realized that I needed to be grateful for my experiences because they’ve shaped me into the person I am today and lead me to where I am. My experiences have helped me evolve as a human and I am grateful for that.
As you seek gratitude, I hope that you are able to feel the healing power of gratitude in your life. I hope you are able to feel love for life and a deeper sense of purpose. I hope you know that you are loved and that you matter. I am so, so grateful that you are here.