The Gratitude and the Struggle…

Dear Readers,

Disclaimer: if you are feeling overwhelmed and not willing to look at the things you have to be grateful for, and simply want to focus on the struggle, I respect that.

I vacillate daily between, “this really sucks” and “it’s not really that bad”.

But then, I heard Brene’ Brown’s podcast and she urged us not to engage in comparative suffering, but to practice extreme empathy, especially with ourselves.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past decade, it’s that fear and scarcity immediately trigger comparison, and even pain and hurt are not immune to being assessed or ranked. [However,] the refugee in Syria doesn’t benefit more if you conserve your kindness only for her and withhold it from your neighbor who’s going through a divorce.

Brene Brown

I am guilty of this.

Typical phrase.

“There are people dying, why am I complaining about how much I want to go to the gym or how frustrating it is to not see a show I wanted to see.”

We minimize it, even using words like, “it’s such a first world problem” – or “I really shouldn’t complain/vent/bellyache about this, but…”

Why? Why do we minimize what upsets us?

Sometimes it’s a way to gain permission, because you are testing the room to see if the other person is ready to listen and support, or if they are going to try to outcomplain you… or try to make you feel better by saying, “at least you have a job” because they don’t or something similar.

I am going to stop saying, “first world problem” and just talk about what I am struggling with and I invite you all to do the same. It might be that you are sick of your four walls, it might be that you feel useless because you can’t go anywhere.

I am frustrated that this virus is stopping me from going to the park with my little girl. She keeps saying “park” and “gym” and I have to keep saying, “no, we can’t go to the park”. I hate that. It frustrates me, not the saying no part, that’s parenting. I hate that it’s not my choice. I hate that I can’t see her face light up when she runs to the swings right now. I have a lot of pictures that I can look at, and there is nothing like that look of pure joy she gets when she is delighted, so I miss it.

On the flipside, I am grateful for the chance to discover new ways to get that look on her face. For example, tonight, we were doing some coloring and she told me, color turtle green, so I did. I asked her, “do you want to color it or do you want Mommy to color it?” She squealed (squeeeeee) and said, “Mommy!!!!” and there was that look. Ah. There you go, munchkin. Look, we figured out a new thing to make you happy and I am grateful for it. I am grateful to my friends who keep checking on me, since they know I am a social butterfly currently stuck in a cocoon…

I am grateful to my friend, Erin who inspired today’s post because while we send a gratitude list (literally a list of things we are grateful for) to each other, it was her idea to talk about the struggles too. Yin and Yang.

I tend to look at life through rose-colored glasses, and in the last year, that has become a whole lot harder to do, and it’s that much more important to maintain.

Take a minute to reach out and tell someone your struggles and your joys (things you are grateful for) right now!

Think About It!!

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