A Nuanced Look at Gratitude

A Nuanced Look at Gratitude

Holding Gratitude & Permission to Feel All Emotions | Record Time Ep. 136

On this episode of Record Time, we dive into:

  • gratitude as it seems to appear in popular personal development
  • how to invite nuance into your relationship with gratitude
  • discontentment as a signal, not a problem

You can receive the full Akashic Transmission by watching the video below!

Thanksgiving is around the corner in the US, and it’s a time when (as the name implies) gratitude is on our minds, perhaps more than usual. This week on Record Time, the Keepers of the Akashic Records and I have a potentially hot take for you on gratitude. So before we dive in, I just want to remind you that if your perspective on this topic is different than the one presented here, that is totally okay! The point of me sharing these perspectives is never to disrespect or invalidate anyone’s point of view, it’s simply to offer you another way of looking at things in case it’s helpful. This is a nuanced topic and if this perspective is not for you, please feel free to skip this week’s episode. 🙂

So with all of that nuance in mind, the Keepers of the Akashic Records share: Don’t let gratitude become complacency.

In my experience, gratitude is a topic that’s super popular in the personal development world, and one that is sometimes presented as the antidote to any negative feeling. The popular messaging around gratitude can seem to be: If you’re feeling stressed, angry, sad, or discontent in any way, just make a gratitude list!

I think that cultivating gratitude and steeping inside the feeling of being grateful is a wonderful practice. And, I think that there are moments when forcing ourselves to be grateful, when we are really not feeling it sincerely, can actually be damaging to ourselves in the long run. 

To me, it seems that the implication behind this constant command to be grateful, especially when we’re feeling discontent, is that feeling any negative feeling is a problem, and it means that there’s something wrong with us that we must fix through gratitude. I disagree with that sentiment. 

I think that the presence of discontentment (in its many forms and feelings) can actually be a powerful indicator from our deep wisdom, that something is out of alignment. It’s not that something is wrong with US for feeling unhappy, it’s that something in our life is not working for us. Discontentment (“negative” emotions) can be a signal that deeper alignment is possible. 

There’s a subtle difference here. 

One point of view might suggest that the feeling of discontentment is the problem, and it needs to be fixed as quickly as possible, and perhaps gratitude is one way to do that. 

The other point of view is that the feeling of discontentment is a SIGNAL that there is a “problem” or misalignment somewhere in our lives, and THAT misalignment is the thing that could be changed or made better in some way. 

I don’t think everyone who encourages a gratitude practice is saying that any negative feeling is bad, but I do think that there’s a subtle undercurrent of that perspective underneath many gratitude practices. It’s possible there’s a subtle implication of “feeling bad is a problem, and I want to fix it” or worse, “I feel bad and I am the problem because I feel bad, and I need to fix myself.”

What the Records and I are offering in this perspective, is that discontentment is not a problem, rather, it can be a signal that something in our lives could be better. 

And if we think of any experience of a negative emotion as a problem, and we do whatever we can to suppress it, avoid it, or escape it as quickly as possible, we might miss the wisdom that it was trying to offer us in the first place. If we bypass our emotions by forcing ourselves to be happy or grateful, and override our discontentment by focusing only on what’s good, we might never realize the thing that was causing the discontentment in the first place. And that root cause might end up going on as it is, unchanged, for a long time. 

Again, I don’t think that gratitude is a problem or a bad practice. I think it’s a beautiful practice that can help us feel connected to ourselves and the Universe. And, I think that using gratitude to override any negative feelings, simply because we don’t want to feel them and listen to them, can actually perpetuate unwanted and misaligned things in our lives that could have been changed or improved had we taken the time to honor and listen to that discontentment instead of avoiding it.

We can end up unintentionally settling or becoming complacent with our situations, even if we don’t like them and even if they could be better, if we focus only on being grateful and never acknowledge the root of our discontentment.

So the invitation here is to consider gratitude with discernment and nuance. To know that it is a valuable and powerful and beautiful tool, AND to know when to use it. We can practice gratitude AND be present to the root of our discontentment if and when it’s relevant. We can understand that the powerful practice of gratitude can be done with awareness, so we don’t accidentally and innocently bypass our emotions and their wisdom. 

If you’d like to receive the full Akashic Transmission on the nuance of gratitude, you can watch the full video below.

If you do spend time contemplating this perspective, I’d love to know what you think. How did this land for you? Do you feel like you have space for a more nuanced relationship with gratitude? If you feel called to share your perspective, you can comment on the video below or send me a message. I’d love to hear from you if it resonates.

I’m wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate, with deep respect and care to all of the Indigenous peoples for whom this day may be painful and acknowledgement of the unceded land of the Coahuiltecan, Comanche, Tonkawa, and Lipan Apache peoples that I currently live on. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link