It’s the first week of the new year and most of us are feeling optimistic about our bright prospects ahead in love and life for the year. Whether or not you have made new year’s resolutions, this is the time when inspiration, confidence and motivation are at their peak.
What happens when you hit an unexpected setback or delay and begin to lose momentum on your quest to find great love (or to accomplish another important life goal)? This article offers helpful tips and steps to support you to navigate challenge so you can remain empowered and on a trajectory toward the fulfillment of a luscious love and a luscious life!
Gratitude, schmatitude…Have you ever had something happen that caused you so much upset, frustration or disappointment that you felt like, “Bah humbug, why the hell do I have to be the most grateful person in the room? I don’t want to be grateful. I’m so irritated, upset, sad, angry or hurt about whatever just happened, I want to curl up into a ball and hide in my cave, under my covers for the next week!” I certainly have felt that way at times.
And we may have well-meaning friends who are giving advice such as, “Everything happens for a reason” or “Time heals all wounds” but you’re just not ready to be that evolved. And then you get onto social media and get more irritated by all of the platitudes circulating around the internet about gratitude. Stock photo images of a pair of hands making the shape of a heart, with sayings like “Gratitude is the best attitude”, “Keep calm and have an attitude of gratitude”, “Gratitude changes everything.” But you are just not feeling it that day.
When we have a reaction to a situation that causes strong feelings, it can sometimes feel that gratitude is so out of reach, like it is not even possible to access gratitude. And who wants to be a phony Pollyanna pretending to be cheerful and optimistic when that is just not authentically how you’re feeling?
There are many ways to cope with obstacles, setbacks and delays. You could do far worse than choosing to relate to your issues from a place of gratitude and curiosity.
But how do you come from that place when you’re in the middle of a devastating breakup, or a major disappointment with someone you’re dating, or an epic fail at work, or an ill family member or death in the family? How can you access gratitude when it feels like you are destined to be stuck wallowing in your misery forever? How do you climb out of that and move towards hope, healing, wholeness and feeling inspired by your precious life?
What I suggest is there are several important steps to not skip over on the path to gratitude.
STEP 1: FEELINGS, WOAH WOAH WOAH, FEELINGS
Cheesy 70’s song aside, the first step is to feel the feelings you are feeling. It’s fine if you want to do this while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in pajamas and fuzzy slippers. But don’t skip over those feelings!
Honor your feelings. Witness them and name them. Get really clear on what the feelings are. Get beyond “I’m so sad” or “I’m so mad” to specifically name the feelings and any meaning you are making about the situation.
For example: “This breakup really has me feeling like ‘I’m not good enough’ and that ‘I’m alone’ and will never find the right partner for me”, or “This disappointment at work has triggered this feeling of ‘I’m not important’ and my contributions are not seen and valued.”
You might want to speak with a trusted friend, coach or therapist to be supported in this process, so you can feel safe to speak openly and authentically without shame about what you are feeling and be supported to discover the beliefs you are uncovering.
STEP 2: MOVE FROM BEING A VICTIM TO LIVING IN POSSIBILITY
Once you’re able to really tune into what the beliefs are that are underneath those feelings, the next step is to get connected to what is really true about you and the situation so you can shift into a place of possibility. When you ask yourself what is really true about the situation, it’s difficult to stay in a victimized place.
For example: “Is it really true that ‘I’m not good enough’ and I will never find the right partner for me?” You can reflect your inherent value back to yourself using self-talk and support your process of healing the heartbreak, the disappointment, the overwhelm from the situation you are facing by focusing on what really is true and what might be possible.
This is important because many times, a major setback in our lives can have us go to a place of non-possibility about whatever situation we are facing. For example, a breakup could have you feel there is no possibility of you ever having the kind of love you are desiring. A setback at work might have you feeling non-possibility about ever receiving the kind of recognition you would like at work. A conflict with a family member might have you feeling like there is no possibility of ever having the kind of relationship you would like with your sibling, parent or spouse.
We go to a place of non-possibility sometimes as a false sense of safety, because if we are in non-possibility about this thing or situation ever being any different, than we will never be hurt or disappointed (and we will never take action on our dreams). But you can see that this is a very limiting place to be. Some people will allow years of their lives to go by not pursuing their visions or dreams because they are living in non-possibility.
How would you support yourself to believe that it really is possible that things will work out for you in the end, even if you don’t have any concrete evidence of that in this moment? What would it take for you to have faith that things can turn around for you?
STEP 3: FINDING YOUR ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
This last step leads us to Gratitude. After going through these first two steps, you should feel more ready to be able to step into gratitude.
If after the first two steps, you’re still having trouble getting to gratitude, here is a simple exercise to get you related to what you are grateful for in your life from my free ebook “The Seven Keys to Living Your Most Luscious Life” (if you don’t have the ebook yet, you can find it here.)
Get an egg timer and set it for 10 minutes. For the next 10 minutes, write down all the things in your journal that you have to be grateful for in life. If you are not yet in the habit of seeing all you have to be grateful for, here is some food for thought:
* What about your physical body are you grateful for?
* What about your home environment are you grateful for?
* What about nature are you grateful for?
* What people in your life are you grateful for?
* What happened today that you can be grateful for?
* What music, art or cultural experience are you grateful for?
* What simple pleasures can you be grateful for?
* What challenges in your life can you be grateful for? (Challenges are just opportunities in disguise.)
* What strengths are you grateful for?
* What perceived limitations can you be grateful for? (Because they are giving you a opportunity to grow.)
* What perceived mistakes can you be grateful for? (What lessons did you learn from them?)
Do this exercise once a week for 30 days. Or if you’re feeling ready, do it daily. Open your journal at random times during the month to rediscover what it is you are truly grateful for.
Cultivating a practice of gratitude helps you remember that many areas of your life are in fact working and it gives your worrisome mind an empowered point of focus. Once you are able to let the distractions fall away you will be in tune with all the beautiful opportunities life has to offer including this particular situation you are currently challenged by.
Practicing gratitude means every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending.
If you would like to get started with your practice of gratitude now, hit reply and tell me one thing you are grateful for as you step into 2017!
Do you have a question or need extra support around this topic? If so, click here to schedule a FREE, 30-minute one-on-one coaching call with Cami Elen.