How to NOT be Un-Grateful:
10 Things for which I Am Not Ungrateful
I’ve written a lot about gratitude this week. But there’s a lot to be said; there are reasons why we should focus on gratitude, there are ways to do it, there are benefits for doing it. But today I want to take us beyond simply “feeling” grateful or even practicing gratitude, to how we can not be un-grateful.
Being Grateful vs. Not Being Ungrateful
There’s a difference, you know, between being grateful and not being ungrateful. I know what you’re thinking—the double negative essentially means that the two are the same. But really they’re not. It’s easy to say we’re grateful. It’s a little less easy to act like we’re grateful and practice gratitude. But it’s much harder to not be ungrateful, because, for me, not being ungrateful means not taking for granted, not forgetting my gratitude, and not failing to express it.
We don’t want to take the blessings in life for granted. We certainly don’t mean to. Be we do, don’t we? I know I do, and I hate when I do it. For example, I can easily tell you I am completely grateful for my children and husband (and I really am). I work very hard to acknowledge my gratitude for them each day and to help them feel it too. But how often do I end up frustrated with them, letting them “have it” about how they’re “putting me out,” complaining selfishly, and behaving very ungratefully? Too often, I’m afraid. In fact, when I think about it, it’s much harder to find things for which I am definitely not ungrateful (things I never take for granted) than to find things for which I am definitely grateful (which are many).
How to NOT Be Un-Grateful
So what can we do to not be ungrateful? While I’m certainly no expert on this, I have a few ideas:
1) It’s human nature to find ourselves ungrateful at times. Yes, we will all have moments when we find our selves feeling ungrateful–taking our blessings for granted, complaining about our gifts and opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s part of human nature; it does no good to beat ourselves up about it.
2) The important thing is to acknowledge our ingratitude when we notice it. Being able to point out, “I am really taking this for granted right now,” or “I am behaving very ungratefully,” is an important first step, for acknowledging our ingratitude is what helps us turn it around.
3) Life’s lessons teach us how to not be ungrateful. Every difficult experience we go through has the power to teach us to better appreciate the small and large blessings of life. When things get really rough, we start to realize just how great we had it before. And this, in turn, helps us to recognize during the “good” times how rough things can really be. Yes, we can and must learn from these life lessons; they are meant to teach us how to not be ungrateful.
4) Acknowledging, listing, and remembering the things for which we are not ungrateful is key. Recognizing the things we do not take for granted helps us better remember these things, and remembering is the key to overcoming ingratitude.
10 Things for which I Am Not Ungrateful
Following my own advice, I’ve given this a lot of thought and come up with my list of 10 things for which I am not ungrateful. I hope this will inspire you to come up with your “Not Ungrateful” list too!:
1) “Normal Life”: I know it can feel boring at times, but having experienced “crazy life” far too often in our past, I can honestly say I am full of overflowing gratitude for “normal.” In fact, I made a pact with myself (after the 2 years in which 6 family members died), that as long as no one is dying, I need to appreciate whatever normal life has to offer. “Normal” life is a good thing. I am not ungrateful for it.
2) Waking up Each Morning: I may not always be completely looking forward to every day, but I do feel deep gratitude for being alive. Having lost so many loved ones, including my dear sisters, I am humbly grateful for each new day. Life is the ultimate blessing, and I am not ungrateful.
3) Health: I remind myself each morning how grateful I am for my health. I’m well aware of how illness can ruin plans, dreams, and ability. I am not ungrateful for each healthy day.
4) Talents/Strengths: This may be the one thing I most often thank God for. Recognizing and using my strengths and talents to strengthen others brings the deepest satisfaction and joy, for which I truly am not ungrateful.
5) Feeling my value and self-worth: Working with so many people (especially women) who honestly cannot see or feel their worth as a soul makes me ever more grateful to know who I am, why I am here, and where I am headed.
6) The ability to see beauty in the small things and teach my children to do the same: I love that they pause for a flower, revel in a sunset, and catch the beauty of the drifting clouds, and I am not ungrateful that I do that too.
7) To see my weaknesses and limits: I’m strage that way. It’s certainly not always easy, but I want to know the truth about myself because I believe in overcoming my weaknesses, and acknowledging them is the first step. I’ve even asked friends to tell me the 3 things they admire most and least about me! It can feel a little like “ouch!” at the outset, but those things, when I let them in, lead to the best growth, and for that I am truly not ungrateful!
8) Growth: I may be ungrateful for changes sometimes, but I can honestly say I am not ungrateful to know that I can always choose to grow through each and every change life has to offer.
9) Knowing that all will always be well in God’s hands: I may not always remember this at the start, but deep down, I always know it. And that is something I am definitely not ungrateful for.
10) Counting my Blessings: I forget to do it sometimes, but I am always grateful that the opportunity to count my blessings is there, that I know how to do it, and that I work on it. In my darkest hours, I can say a prayer of gratitude–for the gifts I’ve listed above, for all the other things for which I am grateful, and for all the blessings for which I am working very hard to not be ungrateful.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]drchristinahibbert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/square-head-shot1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. Learn and Grow with Dr. Hibbert and her community of really great people![/author_info] [/author]
What are you not ungrateful for? Share your list, or other thoughts, with us by leaving a comment below!
[box] Don’t miss a thing! SUBSCRIBE to Dr. Hibbert’s Newsletter & Updates (above, right), to our RSS Feed (top, right), or “Like” us on Facebook![/box]