Do we have to be grateful, all the time?

On my 30 minutes allocated activity time today, I walked my dog on one of the beautiful routes that exist in this part of Hampshire. The sun was shining, there were flowers and colour everywhere, even the dog was behaving for once!

And I felt so grateful. So grateful that I get to live in this part of the world, surrounded by nature. Grateful that when I leave my house I am not surrounded by other people who may or may not be infectious. Grateful that so far my friends and family have not been taken badly ill. Grateful that I have a house and a garden and that my business is surviving despite the lockdown.

However there have been times over the last month that it has been hard to feel grateful. I have felt lost. Demotivated. Sad. Flat. Lonely. I’ve been missing friends. Missing family. Missing variety. Missing seeing new places. Just feeling out of sorts and definitely not grateful.

And then almost instantly I feel GUILT! I’m meant to be feeling grateful!! I’m so fortunate compared to so many people- how selfish it is for me not to appreciate it?! And then I’m confused. And angry. And down on myself.

And on and on it goes…

But hey, you know what I realised, once I was done with flipping and flopping between all these overwhelming feelings? It’s OKAY to not feel grateful all the time! And when you feel grateful and appreciative of your situation, that’s OKAY too! We don’t have to be 100% of one feeling- we can feel 50% of two different, contrasting feelings, or even 1% of 100 different feelings. Feelings are just feelings! We can’t change the way we feel sometimes, and we can’t blame ourselves for feeling certain emotions, even if we don’t want those emotions. Blame and shame for the feelings that we hold only perpetuate more difficult feelings, and we end up feeling even more anxious and negative about ourselves.

So let go of the guilt if actually you’re feeling stressed and crappy and not grateful for your own personal situation. And also let go of the guilt if you’re feeling ok right now and not being overly affected by isolation. You don’t have to just feel one thing or be one person all the time.

So just feel the feeling, don’t beat yourself up if you think it’s not the “right” feeling right now. There is no right or wrong way to feel. We are all just figuring it out as we go.

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