It can be relatively easy during challenging times to resort to practicing Pollyanna-type gratitude. This is when we mindlessly give a laundry list of "surface things" we are grateful for, or that we think we should be grateful for. Surface things to be grateful for might include having food on the table, a bed to sleep in, air to breathe, etc. While these things are certainly very worthy of gratitude and for many people are not surface level, when they are repeated mindlessly on a daily basis they don't really accomplish retraining our brain or changing the lens through which we view the world. In essence, this is practicing gratitude on auto-pilot.
Gritty gratitude, however, is a deeper level of gratitude. Gritty gratitude is messier then the type we display on Instagram or Facebook. This is where we take a challenging experience and shine a light on the pieces within it to be grateful for. It's the disheveled, mucky gratitude buried within those experiences ... the lessons learned or the helpers who came forth. A grateful heart is gritty and resilient, brave and courageous, compassionate and kind.
During good times, it's easy to practice gratitude. During the hard times is where we work to practice, where we have to go deeper. We have to look the challenges straight in the face and peel back the layers ... finding appreciation for the things that trigger us and digging for the source of wisdom.
As this past year became harder, I held tight to my practice of gritty gratitude, as well as being present with the here and now. I invite you to intentionally practice gratitude by identifying at least three things that you’re grateful for each day. Challenge yourself to have at least one of the three be a gritty gratitude.
Gratitude is a muscle that strengthens over time, changing the lens through which we view the world from a lens of lack to a lens of abundance. It truly is life-altering.