I have heard and even said this phrase hundreds of times. Yet when times are tough, the winter will never end, you feel minimal support, and you may be in a difficult job or personal situation, it is hard to make gratitude happen.
There has been hundreds of studies on happiness, and most of them have concluded happiness is the outcome of gratitude, and not vise versa, but how do we get to that point, when it we find ourselves in a difficult spot?
I agree that 'fake it until you make it' is one way, but I also feel in our society we do not feel our current state of mind enough to move past it. When I am frustrated, disappointed, or just want to experiences something above 10 degrees, I do my best to ignore the feelings. I tell myself that isn’t being grateful and I shame myself for having these thoughts.
This isn’t productive – not only am I not being grateful, but I am belittling my feelings, diminishing my self worth.
Sometimes life sucks! The Buddha understood this by saying ‘life is suffering’. We cannot become grateful by withdrawing from the situation, or pretending it isn’t there. Instead, acknowledge your feelings. Feel it in your physical body, mind, emotional body, and energetic body. Really experience your feelings and thank yourself for taking a moment to really acknowledge your current state.
Only from this place, of true connectedness and awareness, can we work through our current situation and find gratefulness, and then happiness.
The next time you are in a difficult situation, I encourage you to not run from the feelings, but instead use your breath to connect to the situation with a deeper understanding. Thank yourself for really understanding your own feelings, and from there, work to find gratefulness.