It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I have been thinking about gratitude these past few days in relation to the past and the present. I had been in the process of ‘trying’ to heal a lot longer than I have been in the actual process of healing and I have many new insights today that I didn’t have in the past.
Something that sprang to mind this morning while I was doing my gratitude journal* was how much the way that I practice gratitude has changed over the last few years.
I have heard most of my adult like that practicing gratitude is one of the most important aspects in any kind of recovery and I am no newbie to the action of being grateful. What is different today is that I don’t have that little voice in the background reprimanding me for my failure with the concept of gratitude.
For example, my gratitude practice in the past would go something like this:
“I am grateful for the abundance in my life! I have food, shelter, clothing and friends. I have everything I need” and the little reprimanding voice full of self-defeating disgust would respond “jeeze but you still think you are so hard done by; you have no excuse for ever being depressed, you have no excuse for ever being sad, you are pathetic and you SHOULD be grateful. If you were really grateful you would not have any of those ‘problems’ that you have.”
The problem is that I didn’t actually ‘hear’ the voice. It was hidden under the surface of my mind, whispering at me constantly, tearing me down in my subconscious and I didn’t actually ‘hear it’ until I began to discover and face what my belief system really was. As long as I was not ‘hearing’ that voice, I wasn’t aware of how self-sabotaging and destructive that it was to me. I was working against myself and in many ways practicing gratitude was counter-productive!
I thought I was practicing gratitude but the fact is that I every time I did a gratitude list I quickly put myself through a self-harming reprimanding session immediately afterwards, in my subconscious mind. So practicing gratitude had little if any lasting effect!
It was in learning how to recognize that little voice and where it originated that I was able to silence it. Not by telling that inner voice to shut up but by replacing the self-defeating comments with the truth. I did that by finding out where they came from in the first place and by validating that I was not my biggest problem, my unhappiness and depressions had a root and my self-esteem went missing and was undermined long before I ever had a say in my own life. (I talk about this in depth throughout this entire website)
Every morning I practice gratitude; I am thankful for the wonders and blessings in my life. I am grateful for my kids, my home and my emotional recovery. I am grateful for my persistence, my passion and the love that I have for the message of hope and healing. I am grateful for each of the donations that I receive to help with the costs of maintaining this website. I am grateful for the clients that I work with; for what I learn from them, for the gift of being part of their growth and their emotional healing process and for the fact that because of my clients I am also able to contribute to our family expenses and financial needs. I am grateful to each reader and to each person who is courageous enough to comment here and share in the healing process in that way. I am grateful for the beauty in the world and for the way that I seem to have a gift for communicating the message of healing and hope for healing. Each day I am grateful for different things but there are some things that dominate the list; I am grateful that I have found ME.
Each of my statements is true and today there is no other little sabotaging voice that tears down what I am building up. I have silenced that voice by doing the healing and self-validating work that I talk about every day in this website.
When I practice gratitude as an action today, it is very effective and for that I am especially grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am happy to be ‘thanksgiving’ every day as part of my self-care and self-love practices. Gratitude builds me up now that I have been able to overide the voice by listening to it and finding the root.
Please share about the little voice in your own life. Does it ever come up when you are practicing gratitude? Are you or have you ever been aware of a little voice? Are you sure it is your voice or is it also the voice of someone else? How do you respond to it? If you are aware of it and have always just responded to it by telling it to shut up, what do you think about listening to it as a way of getting to the root of it?
With love and in truth;
*my gratitude journal; I spend at least 10 minutes each morning writing about what I am grateful for. It is amazing how much I have learned from doing this.