Downside of Gratitude
Last week on a Facebook group, someone posted a link to a blog post by Mike Hrostoski called “F*** You Spiritual People for Using Gratitude as a Bypass to Your Anger”. I'll not give you the whole link because I don't want to offend anyone by cussing here, but if you want to read all of Mike’s rant, fill in the blank letters and you'll find it online here. The title shocked me so of course I checked it out. Mike really got his rant on and as I read his post, I felt a resonance with what he was saying. He expressed what had been niggling in the back of my mind, but wouldn't let myself admit.
How CATHARTIC! Mike’s premise is that spiritual people or those with spiritual leanings hide behind gratitude. We burnish the edges off. We don't easily admit the shadow side of ourselves - the petty, the judgmental, the scared, the disappointed, the angry, and the despairing parts of us all get swept under the rug because we aim to be grateful and spiritual.
And it's a mistake on so many levels.
Now I'm not saying to be cruel, unspiritual, or ungrateful.
But I am saying take into account the human aspect of who you are and what you feel. Once you've acknowledged it you can begin to bring those unhappy parts into the light so they don't have to be repressed and come out in other ways - like self-sabotage or defensiveness.
One reason to acknowledge the full range of your emotions is that other people actually know what you are repressing – maybe not the specifics, but the gist of it. You communicate it without meaning to.
You yourself know when someone is putting up a fake front or is just too nice to be true. You don't trust them, and consequently you won't do business with them.
Another reason to make friends with your "warty" feelings is that they will stop you from moving forward with your business.
Recently I worked with a client who is going through a difficult financial time. She's doing everything she can to move forward and make the situation right, but she was lugging a load of guilt and shame with her. So we worked on bringing those feelings to light and letting them go.
Does this mean she's not disappointed about her current situation? No. Does it mean that she won't work to make it different? No. It means she has more lightness of heart and hope for the future. Now she has the energy to do what she needs to do without being stuck in the swamp of heavy feelings.
So what about you? What feelings or experiences are you stuffing to put on a brave face? It could be a partnership that didn't work. That was one experience I had that took me a while to get over.
What are you carrying around shame about? Is it a business concept failure that you felt you should have avoided? That's another one of mine - more than once! Working to clear the shame has given me the awareness that those concepts didn't work the way I had intended, but I sure learned a lot! And as I accept my failures, I can use them to fuel my success.
As we spiritually-oriented people know, running a small business or practice is a unique and sometimes challenging personal growth experience. As part of your spiritual practice, bringing light to your shadow can be difficult and so rewarding. It involves awareness, compassion, and forgiveness. And it ultimately leads to gratitude that embraces truth.
In the days ahead as you express gratitude for what you have and who you are, remember to include the "hard" or "ugly" emotions. They belong in the light where they can be transformed by Truth.
And, hey, I’m not talking about perfection here. I’m talking about being real that you have multiple facets and some of them aren’t pretty. Remember that each and every one of us is a work in progress. When you catch a glimpse of the parts of yourself that would rather stay petty and small, love up on them and yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving – for real!