Being open, honest, and vulnerable is a goal of mine. Vulnerability brings connection and connection brings love and love brings joy. Therefore, vulnerability is a goal of mine. So here it goes. I am going to enter into a state of hyper-vulnerability with you and share myself at the level of awareness of one of my weaknesses, and then I’m going to walk through the process of changing myself. I will do it honestly and with integrity and follow up several times, at least three, in the next few months to share how this process has helped or not helped me achieve a goal I’ve wanted to achieve since I was 21 years old. Here it goes.
I have known for a long time (in my mind), that gratitude is the mother of most blessings, but I have honestly struggled with feeling grateful as often as I would like. I want to feel grateful all the time. In fact I never feel better than when I have feelings of gratitude. But that doesn’t change the fact that gratitude is not the first thing I think of expressing or feeling unless someone has done something that is an obvious sacrifice, then I feel a great deal of gratitude, but I also feel shame because they have sacrificed for me (that’s a key I will come back to later). I usually feel a mixture of many things that might eventually lead to gratitude, but not always. Often, I start to feel grateful when someone else expresses gratitude and I feel a twinge of shame for having forgotten to feel or express my gratitude — which I really didn’t feel until someone else exemplified it.
When I was 21 years old I went to a special training to help me serve and connect better. The leader of the
group taught about gratitude. He was very passionate and excited about it. He had learned through personal revelation and experience that if he could teach us to feel true gratitude, it would start a spiral of change in our lives and cause us to be highly motivated and find personal empowerment. I felt what he said, and I believed him. But it didn’t change that I didn’t feel much gratitude, for anything. I did have one place where I felt deep gratitude and it was for God and the atonement and my mother for giving birth to me, but those things are pretty fundamental and I didn’t seem to hold them constantly in a place of awareness in my mind or experience. Back then I wondered how to increase my feelings of gratitude but didn’t know how so little has changed. That was 29 years ago and I haven’t spent the time or energy to change or focus on gratitude, until today. Today something changed.
Today is Thanksgiving, and although I wish it was the holiday that brought me to the place where I wanted to feel more gratitude, it’s not. In our lives, hard situations and personal struggles usually bring about the impetus for change. Right now my life is demanding change and I believe gratitude will help me accomplish many of the goals I desire to accomplish, including a greater and deeper connection to God.
Starting with this blog post, I’m going to make a personal journey from ingratitude to deep gratitude. And I’m going to do it in the public eye. I hope I don’t regret it. LOL! I will share my process and experiences with you as I go.
Next, I need to look at why I am NOT grateful. It may sound backwards, but I believe that DEEP change starts with awareness. Awareness of what thoughts, actions, habits, and beliefs get in our way of feeling and thinking what we want to think and feel. For me it’s coming to the awareness of what is stopping me from feeling grateful ALL THE TIME.
I have found that we all have what I call, gavel moments. These moments stop us from doing, thinking and feeling what we really want to do, think or feel. We gradually bring more and more situations into those judgments and stop acting in ways that bring expansion and growth. Fewer situations get by without our judgments being attached to them. Therefore, less creative thinking happens, which is one of the things that brings growth and progression. Growth, being a basic human need, brings happiness. Connecting the dots, we can see that when we judge things and get into patterns because of gavel moments in our lives, we slow down our growth, inhibiting our happiness and therefore we find less joy. Thus, awareness of what we think, feel and do are tantamount to change. Finding those decision points (gavel moments) where we judged something to be unsafe, painful, bad or wrong, is the jumping off point for changing our thinking and reasoning from then on.
The majority of our thoughts on any given day are repeated. Very little of our thinking is new or out of our own “box”. This makes it highly unlikely that we will change. If I really want to change, and BE more grateful, I must THINK more gratefully. BUT I DON’T! How do I change the fact that I don’t even THINK about being grateful? It doesn’t even enter my thought pattern to feel grateful or express gratitude, so how do I BECOME a grateful person? Well, there is a relatively simple solution. One that I find works really, really well, all the time. So, I’m going to share with you my process and my experience as I undertake the goal of becoming more grateful.
Like I said, I am starting with awareness of the weakness of ingratitude. That is the step I will be in for the next few days. I am going to watch my thinking and my interacting with other people. I am going to notice how I feel and think, and I am going to write it down. In the process of awareness, I am going to put the thoughts in a format that I find to be helpful instead of inhibiting and shaming. It’s called R&R. R&R stands for Remove & Replace. It also stands for Repent & Replace, and Rest & Relaxation. These are all appropriate for what I am doing. I am going to focus for short periods of time on what I might think that is stopping me from feeling more gratitude at any given moment and then I am going to consciously Remove or Repent (change) those thoughts, patterns, and beliefs. Next, I will use the second R and Replace the old thought, belief and pattern with a new one. One that I consciously choose. I will write this after the first R. I will do this for a few days and bring what I have found and post it here. You will see my current silly and foolish thinking patterns and then you will see what I want in my mind and heart instead. In my experience and in that of many others, R&R brings Rest and Relaxation. We will cover more about that later.
I am going to do the process of R&R for the weakness of ingratitude for the next three to five days for 20 minutes a day, depending on how much I find in my thinking that needs to be changed. Then I will go to the next step and share that with you. I’ll see you in a few days!