The Ungratefulness of Positivity-Focused Gratitude
Let me say first, that being grateful in and of itself, denotes separation and delineation. You're being grateful to something outside of yourself. Something that will reward you for your positive focus or chastise you in some way for a negative focus.
But gratitude comes in many forms, though it's usually promoted as some beatific energy that causes you to implode with love and appreciation for all the good you have in your life.
Nothing wrong with that. There's room for all types of gratitude. Yet I do have an issue with this form being the 'go to' for everyone. What if you just don't feel that beatific and positive. Is that really ungrateful?
I ask this question as something to be genuinely explored. Does the universe have a preference for our emotions and emotional states? Is there some singular expression of the universe that does a little shimmy of happiness whenever we show positivity?
I know it's taken for granted by many that this is so. But just because something's taken for granted as true, doesn't make it so. What if the universe is completely neutral about positivity? Or what if it sees positivity in all of your emotional states? How about that?
There's no doubt that being able to be positive and see the good in a situation is an expression of gratitude. There's something so feel good about being able to say 'I am beyond responding in knee-jerk ways to difficult life circumstances.' It certainly indicates an advanced human being, no? It's something for us all to strive towards as an indication that we have evolved in our thinking and our mind-mastery.
Yet could there be other expressions that could be deemed just as positive by the universe? For example pissed-off gratitude? Angry gratitude? Frustrated gratitude? I'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth here, gratitude?
Does The Universe Enjoy You Enjoying Your Emotions?
Enjoying your anger. Being grateful for it. Enjoying your frustration. Being grateful for it. Enjoying your pissed-offness. Being grateful for it. Enjoying your rage. Being grateful for it. Enjoying your fear. Being grateful for it. Is that not gratitude? Do you need the universe to appreciate your appreciation of your emotions?
If there is no separation between emotions as far as the universe is concerned and all expressions are seen as equal, then how did gratitude get to be seen as simply being 'positive in a particular way' about certain aspects of our experience? We are trained to see that if we want to evolve, that we need to see the good in the bad, in the difficult, in the hard to experience, if we wish to evolve and grow and especially if we want to manifest our desires. But does that really include a true appreciation of our emotional range?
Now before you decide to go out and wilfully and randomly express all of your emotions willy-nilly, let me say this. There is a big distinction between appreciating all of your emotional states and blindly acting from them. Gratitude that incorporates all of how you express, isn't necessarily about expressing wildly and blindly. It isn't about going out and deliberately impacting others with your wrath. This isn't a superhero movie after all.
A Storm of Gratitude
This is about real life. Real feelings. Real emotional struggles. Especially for those who aren't natural appreciators. Maybe they have felt too battered by life to be able to naturally go into positive mode.
But they can learn to appreciate their hurt, or sadness, or even their feelings of unworthiness, as an expression in and of itself. If they are able to see that feeling of unworthiness for example, as something within them that is pointing to where they are believing in a lie.
They don't need to know where the lie originated to know it is a lie. You know it's a lie because it feels harsh in the body. It feels unpleasant to experience. It feels constricted, rather then expansive. And we label those sensations bad because of this.
We don't think: 'Darn it, how lucky am I to be able to experience such marvellously contrasting sensations in my body!' Far from it. Yet these emotions feel a certain way in the body for a reason. To get our attention.
It's Okay Not To Be Okay With It
It is definitely okay to say:
"I'm not good with this. This doesn't feel good to me. I do not like how this feels and you know what I appreciate right now? My goddurned honesty! I'm being honest about where I am and how I feel. I feel like squirming and resisting these sensations, these feelings. They feel horrible to me."
Do you really think that that there would be a universe, somewhere out there as a singular self, shaking its head in disappointment at your responses? Does that seem true to you?
So back to those uncomfortable sensations. Can you see how you might actually enjoy that honest expression? How just owning, naming and claiming how you really feel, might be the best thing for you? Could you appreciate that and still feel crappy? It's definitely possible don't you think? Could you appreciate that and still feel fearful, angry, hurt, sad, frustrated, or whatever your sensation is?
Is it possible that seeing no separation, no good or bad of emotional states, might actually free you up? Is it possible that your emotional states would arise and pass through much quicker once you acknowledged what their message was? Is it possible that your suffering states would be less prolonged, if you just owned them fully?
Is it possible that you are not here to express and experience just a narrow range of supposed universe-approved emotions? Is it also possible that if you allowed yourself to acknowledge all of your emotional states as equal and lacking in nothing, that you wouldn't be so busy avoiding them, or expressing them without a filter?
Knowing that these states are either pointing you towards what does feel true and what doesn't feel true. What is a lie and what is truth. Would you still be so scared of what you consider to be negative thoughts? Would you be let off the evolved hook of needing to always be or feel, positive? Would you still view the universe as something outside of yourself, grading and rating your emotional states? I think not. So go ahead. Let yourself off the hook and let your gratitude express itself in the moment in whatever way it's showing up, even if it doesn't look too pretty. It's all 'good.'
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