Let’s face it: it’s hard to be grateful when you’re mad. Anger and gratitude don’t mix well. No matter how hard I grit my teeth, quote scripture of some sort, breathe deeply, and all that, I can’t be grateful when I’m mad. Or hurt.
Should I be able to do this? Well, if I’m feeling resentful, or feel hurt, or if I am furious, I may need gratitude even more. I don’t have to feel grateful for the feelings--and I might be able to feel grateful for my ability to feel and to choose my response.
When I was, say, two years old, I probably didn’t have the ability to recognize feelings and turn them up or down. At a much later point in life, say, by my 20s, I’d hope I could. It’s still a work in progress.
Gratitude is overrated when it’s used as the smothering blanket for feelings. It is, I think, underrated when we consider that it is available to us as a response to our capacity to act in different ways.
I’ll keep at it. Like a hog gnawing away at a grindstone, I’ll wear down my hard-heartedness that causes me to want for someone I’m mad at something I definitely do not want for myself.