What to Do When You Aren’t Thankful

Although gratitude is all the rage these days, you may not be feeling particularly appreciative right now.

I see your point. I’ve also been there.

There are a variety of reasons why you or someone else might be turned off by a thankfulness meme:

  • Illness that lasts a long time
  • Pain that never stops
  • Addiction
  • Personal tragedy
  • Betrayal
  • Problems with money
  • Joblessness
  • Blues in a relationship
  • Relationships with family members that are difficult
  • Illness that is incurable
  • The current situation in the world
  • Climate change and its consequences in the short term

And that’s only a taste of what’s possible, because life isn’t always straightforward.

What should I do?

Begin with compassion for yourself.
Try a few repetitions of a well-deserved dose of self-compassion.

This could be construed as a “pity party” by some. That sentence irritates me. It sounds too much like “stiff upper lip,” which seems more uneasy than courageous, oppressive than honest, self-sacrificing rather than self-honoring.

What good does it do you to deny your suffering?

If you were in the same situation as someone else, your heart would naturally go out to them. So, as long as it doesn’t deteriorate into an unhealthy long-term self-obsession, why shouldn’t you show yourself the same love, kindness, and compassion?

Don’t be hesitant to admit the extent of your suffering or challenges. Feel no remorse for doing so. Don’t pay attention to those who tell you that you shouldn’t.

Accepting your own pain will aid in the healing of your mind and heart. Self-compassion is the first step toward recovery.

“Courage isn’t usually a roaring beast. Sometimes courage is that small voice that whispers, “I’ll try again tomorrow,” at the end of the day. Mary Ann Radmacher (Mary Ann Radmacher)

Self-Compassion: How to Develop It
What methods do you use to develop self-compassion?

In my experience, it’s best to start with a tried-and-true strategy and work your way up until self-compassion comes effortlessly. Below are two of my favorite self-compassion techniques. You may make your own if you were inspired by these.

Let’s get started.

The Break with Self-Compassion
Dr. Kristin Neff, the world’s best expert on self-compassion, devised a “self-compassion break” activity.

When you need a self-compassion break, follow these steps.

Bring the problem to mind and feel whatever emotional or physical pain it causes in your body. Say the following three phrases to yourself slowly.

“This is a trying time for me.” — The formula’s mindfulness component.

“Suffering is an inevitable part of existence.”

—This helps you feel less alone by connecting you to mankind. Place your hands over your heart and experience the warmth they emit as you speak the phrase. Alternatively, apply any other calming touch that makes you feel at ease.

“Please allow me to be kind to myself.”

—Inspires you to make self-kindness a habit.

This is a technique that can be applied at any moment. It evokes Dr. Neff’s three characteristics of self-compassion.

Dr. Neff adds seven more written and eighteen guided practices to the mix. When you’re going through a difficult period, use these self-healing techniques.

“When we practice self-compassion, we treat ourselves with the same warmth and care that we would a good friend.”

—Kristen Neff, Ph.D.

On the Breath, Giving and Receiving
The practice of “Giving and Receiving on the Breath” has traditionally been done with the purpose of alleviating others’ suffering. However, current spiritual masters have modified the practice to allow it to be used as a self-compassion exercise as well.

Let’s have a peek at how other people practice. Then I’ll show you how to complete the exercise on your own.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–1991) wrote this simple lesson in his book The Heart of Compassion:

“Imagine your heart as a dazzling ball of light from time to time. As you exhale, rays of while light radiate in all directions, carrying your joy to all beings. As you inhale, their suffering, negativity, and afflictions manifest as dense, black light, which is absorbed by your heart and vanishes in its brilliant while light without leaving a trace, relieving all beings of their anguish and sorrow.”

Find a peaceful spot and allow your mind to calm for a few moments to use this as a self-compassion practice.

Then envision yourself in two different ways:

The first is your wise self – the part of you that feels complete, compassionate, and loving, and who is willing to be there for you at all times and in all situations without judgment.

The wounded, damaged, or struggling self is the second aspect.

Imagine a magnificent white light emanating from the heart of your knowing self, like in the illustration above.

Imagine that as you exhale, she brings light, love, compassion, healing, and happiness to your damaged self—everything you require.

Imagine your wise self absorbing all of your damaged self’s sorrow and suffering (in the form of dense, dark light) into the radiant white light at her heart, where it vanishes totally as you take a deep breath in.

Your injured self feels alleviated of all her suffering when she accomplishes this.

Continue the practice for five to ten minutes, or as long as you like, with each in and out breath.

Allow yourself to be filled with whatever quality, comfort, or kindness you require by simply being a receptive vessel. This may be challenging at first, but with practice, it will become simpler.

The procedure may appear hard at first, but after a few repetitions, it will become a simple visualization that you can use at any moment.

“Your compassion is insufficient if it does not include oneself.”

—Kornfield, Jack

Lastly, I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you who have taken the time to
You may progressively cure your own sorrow and suffering by practicing compassion for yourself. Gratitude will then become a more feasible prospect. You’ll also discover and strengthen the love and compassion that already exists within you as a result of this process.

In fact, you’ll begin to realize that you’re not alone in your pain, which can shatter your heart in the most beautiful of ways. In our pain, we are never alone. Take a look around and you’ll notice that we all suffer from the same problems. As you become aware of this, you naturally begin to open your heart to others, and your life may take on new meaning and purpose.

You, like everyone else, are entitled to compassion. I hope you find comfort from your sorrow through these basic self-compassion activities.

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