Grateful and Grieving. I have to say this topic sounds like an oxymoron to me. I have always thought of these two words to be as far apart as you can get. When you look up the definition for Gratitude it says “ the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful” When you look up the definition for Grief it says -“keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret”
So is it possible to be Grateful and Grieving? Have you ever thought of your grief as being a gift? I am sure you are shaking your head no right now. I would have if someone asked me that question 5 years ago. My loss a gift are you crazy!!!
I now look at my Grief as an UNWANTED GIFT, but a GIFT all the same. It is my gift of grief, the price I have to pay for my relationship and deep love that I have for my child and for that I am grateful. If I did not have the deep love that I have for my child I would not be grieving. I would not give up one second of my life with my child, the good times and the bad ones. If I gave up my grief I would be giving up on my love for my child.
As Thanksgiving is approaching we are supposed to be giving Thanks for things we are grateful for, am I Thankful? There are times that I am not. But can I give Thanks? This I can do. I can be grateful for all the memories that I do have when my child was with me. I can be grateful for all the new friends I have made that are walking the same path as I am. I can be grateful for the signs I get from my child. The list can go on for what I am grateful for.
People are not hardwired to be grateful. And, like any skill worth having, gratitude requires practice. Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that can lessen anxiety, and could open up our thinking.
If you don’t already practice Gratitude it wouldn’t hurt to try it. It may be hard at first especially when you do not feel grateful for anything. But start small. Maybe you can be grateful for your morning coffee or tea, the birds singing outside, a warm bed. It is noticing the small things that we take for granted. It is being aware. It doesn’t mean that we should stop grieving the loss, but there is always a choice in how the loss is played out. Here are some ways you can practice Gratitude:
Keep a gratitude journal – Start by giving thanks for five gifts every day, it is amazing when you look back after a period of time how much can change.
Make gratitude jar – Keep post it notes near it and try putting one thing you are grateful for each day.
Give at least one compliment daily. It can be to a person, or it can be asking someone to share your appreciation of something else. “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” You can always compliment yourself. Self-love is the first step into loving people and the world around you.
Practice Mindfulness to appreciate each moment. Focus on the present moment. Notice what’s all around you. Use all of your senses: What do you see, feel, hear, smell, taste? Sometimes I have been grateful for a good cry, healing tears as I call them.
Acknowledge one ungrateful thought per dayand then replace it with a grateful one: After you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t do this anymore” stop and add something grateful. “I made it through yesterday” Learning to hear, question, and alter your thoughts into something more grateful is truly a blessing, for it gives you the power to change your life, one ungrateful thought at a time.
Why not try it today Gratitude can be one of the most healing tools we have.