Inspiration! A new kind of gratitude


I am all about practices of gratitude.  It seems to be the number one closest thing we have to a magic wand that makes life better, and who doesn't want that?

Recently I came across a new version of a gratitude practice on the blog Raptitude.  It's called Radical Gratitude.  What is Radical Gratitude?  It is asking yourself, in unfortunate circumstances, "Can I be grateful for this, too?"

That's it.

When you're stressed out, when you miss your bus, when you have to work late, or your partner does something hurtful, ask yourself if there is anything in this situation that you can be grateful for, and then list what some of those things might be.

For example, I was getting ready to go to a meeting I really didn't want to attend.  Just the thought of it made my brain feel tight with stress and all I wanted was to suddenly become vomitously ill so that I could stay home.  (You know it's bad when you wish you were actually vomiting, and not pretending to be vomiting, to get out of something.)

Of course, the throw up stayed inside my body and I had to go.  As I was heading out, I tried asking myself if there was anything I could feel grateful for in this particular scenario.  I half-heartedly listed a few things: developing some new skills, building a network, working with people I like, that I had been considered competent enough to be invited to be a part of this group, and I was helping make positive change in an area that I cared about.  I was not suddenly overjoyed to be going, but neither was I dreading it quite so much.  I knew that it would be okay and that, at the very least, it wasn't all bad.

Another example: say you miss your bus.  What are the circumstances surrounding this that you can be grateful for?  You might be able to afford a bus pass.  You might be strong and healthy enough to walk five blocks to the bus with ease.  You might have a job where being 15 minutes late due to a bus is inconvenient, but will not get you fired.  You might live in a city that has public transit.  You might be able to enjoy a moment to quietly read your book until the next bus comes.  Okay, so you're still annoyed and inconvenienced, but your day doesn't have to be ruined.

There is the magic of radical gratitude: it won't suddenly make you feel cheerful about an unhappy situation (although it might), but it will help you remember that nothing is all bad.

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