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The Power of an Ingratitude List

Gratitude journals are very popular, and there is definitely a time and a place for their use. However, this practice can sometimes mask what's really going on inside.

Have you ever experienced a challenge or trauma and had (well-intentioned) people say to you something like, "Count your blessings, think of all of the people who have it worse than you do, chin up, and focus on the positive."?

If this made you want to throw up or punch the person making the recommendation in the face, a gratitude list is not for you.

Pain, disappointment and loss are a part of life (it's true), but this kind of toxic positivity is a form of deflection. Also, It can shame the person on the receiving end of the platitudes into feeling they can't be open and honest about their pain.

A gratitude list can imply that a person is choosing to feel bad. The fact is that our pain and misery have to be dealt with. Not stuffed down into a deep dark place. Repressed trauma will rear it's ugly head eventually, I promise you.

In short, it's okay to not be okay, and your feelings around losing a job (for example) shouldn't be diminished because people are dying in Ukraine.

Both can be terrible and meaningful at the same time.

It's not a competition.

To that point, I bring you the Ingratitude list. I've done it. It's part of the reason for my midlife career shift. That is not to say that every item on the list will lead to powerful life-changing realizations. However, listing the things that make you angry, the things you've lost, illnesses you are battling, feelings of anger, suffering and betrayal might bring you closure. It might even give you a more holistic view of what's happening inside of you and with that, an opportunity for action and change.

For 2023, give it a try and let me know what discoveries you make!

An excellent guide on how to begin here.

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