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Gratitude with a Side of Reality

How one little word can change your perspective

November's here with its crispy leaves and shorter days, nudging us right into Thanksgiving vibes. Time for apple crisp (or pumpkin pie…you do you ;-), cozy sweaters, and...gratitude! But let’s dive into the messy side of gratitude for a sec.

Keepin’ it real when it comes to gratitude

I'm all for counting our blessings (and I do so often), but I am NOT in favor of toxic positivity (“it’s all fine, I’m fine, everything is fine”). Brushing away real, valid emotions under the carpet of forced happiness or gratitude solves nothing and makes us feel worse.

I’ve heard this phrase (or other variations of it) IRL, on social media and I’ve said it myself too at one time or another: “I know I should just be grateful for my family’s health (and so many other blessings) BUT I’m just so stressed and overwhelmed with ‘life’ right now.

Instead of getting trapped in the binary of gratitude vs. genuine feelings of overwhelm, let's tweak our narrative. For example, “I’m super thankful for all the good stuff, AND I'm kinda drowning in this crazy schedule right now.” Nothing has gone wrong, both can be true!

Such a simple switch from ‘BUT’ to ‘AND’ can work wonders. It allows us to acknowledge both our gratitude and our stress without one invalidating the other. All of these feelings can coexist and we can avoid the emotionally expensive guilt trip. We can be thankful and, at the same time, be a bit frazzled by the day-to-day hustle.

Truth: articulating why we're grateful can offer a quick reframe and a fresh perspective. But weaponizing it against ourselves to invalidate our feelings is counterproductive. It’s entirely possible to feel grateful for the “big picture” while still feeling stressed about the nitty-gritty of the everyday (for example, back-to-back meetings, an endless to-do list, uber’ing your kids all evening, homework, dinner, and everything in between)*.

Wrapping it up…

So, this month, as you're gearing up for turkey, family time, and maybe a gratitude journal entry or two, remember to give yourself the grace to feel and acknowledge ALL your emotions. Embrace the power of 'AND' and understand that it’s okay to be grateful and still feel the weight of daily stresses. Your feelings? 100% legit. Acknowledging them? That's where the magic starts.

*If the stress and overwhelm are a little much, email me and I’ll send you the replay of my recent webinar where I shared simple, actionable strategies to reduce your mental load and save you time and energy. It’s your ticket to feeling less overwhelmed and more balanced. I also have lots of other free resources here.

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