Gratitude in the Time of Covid
I’ll be real with you, .
Some days I just don’t feel that grateful.
Some days I wake up angry that I didn’t get enough sleep because stressing about covid or our finances kept me up all night, but my kid is cheerfully ripping the blindfold off my eyes and singing for me to wake up and PLAAAAAY already… and I am pissed because I want another hour of quiet before going through the same day we’ve been repeating the last three months. Again.
I know that I’ve got it great. I KNOW that I have a home, that we aren’t in danger of homelessness right now, that we can eat, that we have AIR CONDITIONING for crap’s sake…
But right in that moment, I feel whiny. I feel annoyed. I feel inconvenienced, and I am tired of all the hundreds of inconveniences that this pandemic has created.
Feeling like that feels cruddy. But it’s honest.
I am unashamed to admit that I am not a morning person and I don’t jump out of bed joyful and automatically grateful to face my day. I really have to work at that, and even then, it is rarely true for me.
Usually, I let myself have those minutes of silent or grumbling annoyance and it is enough to get it out of my system. I venture downstairs and discover a hidden vanilla yogurt behind the strawberries in the fridge. I eat them. I perk up.
I don’t know about you, but I have sometimes fallen into the spiritual trap of believing that in order to be a spiritual “good” person, I have to be grateful all the time.
Worse, I have worried about the other trap that The Secret planted in my sweet naïve brain all those years ago, that if I think something for too long or with too much emotion it will manifest and draw more of it to me. So, thinking and feeling BAD things on a daily (or OK, hourly) basis is basically like filling a prescription for more lockdowns, homeschooling, and leftover rice and gristly chicken rondelets.
BUT! Having a feeling is not the same thing as drawing more of that feeling to you. Nope. 🚫
Having a feeling is just having a feeling.
The caveat is that you have to feel it and let it move on.
You can’t repress it or deny it. Repression makes it come back, and then you really ARE drawing more of that feeling to you. Don’t fall into that trap.
So, I grump. I get out of bed. I pull it together and notice if I manage to become cheerful by the time we are downstairs or if I am continuing to wish ill things on humanity for a full hour. And either way, these days, I am OK with it.
Because I have learned how to truly be grateful AND have honest feelings of disgust, annoyance, and anger. And I am not afraid that being enthusiastically ungrateful for a few hours, even if it happens a few times a week, will make my life worse.
I can’t outsmart what will make me feel alarmed or scared or angry. Stuff just happens sometimes.
But I can plan times in my day to take a tally of what’s going well. Things I really AM grateful for.
When I noticed I wasn’t as generally joyous as I usually am last month, I made a few repeating reminders on my phone. They say, “I have such a loving, wonderful husband and kid! I love their smiles!” “We live in such a wonderful, comfortable home!” and “Guess who ate yummy food today? It was ME!”
They come up every day, and when they pop on my phone, I can’t help but smile and feel really, honestly happy. And the more times I feel like that, the easier it is to notice MORE things to be joyful and happy about.
If you’ve never set a reminder in your phone for something other than a Zoom meeting, I totally recommend it. It will change your life.
Here’s to giving yourself a free pass to feel however you feel while building in more deliberate moments of awesome.
(because YAY, you’re reading this, and I am so happy you’re here! 😊)