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Welcome to HerdingTheDragon.com!

I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Why the whole daily gratitude thing doesn't work for me

I want to be one of those people that's just grateful for everything, but I'm not. Periodically, I try to do a daily gratitude challenge, and every single time, I stop part way through.

Because it's false. It's fake. It's not real.

After a week or two, I run out of new things to be happy for, and once I have to go digging, or once I have to find new ways to say what I already said before, it stops feeling like being grateful for anything and starts feeling like making stuff up. Scrabbling. Trying too hard.

It's not that I'm an ungrateful person; I do appreciate what I have. But my day to day life mostly has the same collection of things in it, and I'm not outward-directed enough to keep having new things happening. That's exhausting. And it's exhausting trying to be that way when I'm just not--it goes back to understanding what it means that I'm an introvert and taking care of myself on those terms. The whole concept of forcing me, daily, to look for some new thing to feel grateful about feels...bizarre.

Don't get me wrong: it's good to get out of my head and look around some. It's good to take note of things while they're here. But it's not good to add more stuff that feels like work, or more things I can guilt myself for failing to do, when I have a lot of other work to do already.

So here's what I do:

Periodically, I do Thankful Thursday lists on IG: it's easier to see what I'm really, honestly feeling gratitude for when the signal isn't blocked by faking it just to have something to note in my planner every day.

At the end of the month, in my monthly review, I list three or five people and things I'm happy to have interacted with in the last month.

And when something good happens, it goes on a list, and sometimes gets noted in my journal if it's something worth talking about.

But I don't try to force myself to do something every single day that I don't like. I have trouble doing ANYTHING every single day. I certainly can't expect myself to suffer through something that doesn't make me happier when the whole purpose of it is meant to raise happiness!

All of which is to say: there's no one single way to do any of this stuff. We all want to be happy, we're all looking for the way to do it, but just because hundreds of people on the web have a trick that works for them, doesn't mean it'll work for me. And maybe you. And that's okay.

Try it. If it doesn't work, like this didn't work for me, try something else.

How do you guys handle the Gratitude Issue?

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