The Pursuit of Gratitude | How Am I Fortunate?

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1 year ago

I am writing this in an attempt to cultivate a gratitude habit. Some of my church folks have been going ga-ga over Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection. Initially, I wasn't keen to pick up the book and start reading because I have a long reading list. But I was curious, so I bought the book earlier this month. It was very expensive, MYR79.90 (USD18.52). But I bought it anyway. I am currently 3/4 into the book. I like it. I like the message that Brene is trying to communicate to her readers. But I don't like how she writes because her sentences are hard for me to understand. She doesn't make her point across succinctly but beats around the bush in many parts of the book. I had to read some of the sentences several times to understand her points. Nonetheless, I still like the book.

One of the chapters that resonate with me is Guidepost 4: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark. Brene talks about practicing gratitude which is no foreign concept to me. But what struck me the most was when she wrote about "foreboding joy." Here's an excerpt from her book:

For years, my fear of something terrible happening to my children actually prevented me from fully embracing joy and gratitude. Every time I came too close to softening into sheer joyfulness about my children and how much I love them, I'd picture something terrible happening; I'd picture losing everything in a flash.

I can relate to that.

And this is what she wrote a couple of paragraphs later:

...the best way to transform our compulsive need to dress-rehearse tragedy in times of overwhelming joy is to practice gratitude. Rather than using that vulnerability shiver that comes when things feel "too good" as a warning sign, use it as a reminder to practice gratitude. Also, know that if joy scares you—you're not alone. Most of us have experienced being on the edge of joy only to be overcome by vulnerability and thrown into fear. Until we can tolerate vulnerability and transform it into gratitude, intense feelings of love will often bring up the fear of loss.

I can totally relate to that.

How often in the past had I stopped myself mid-celebration and whispered in my heart to "reduce" my happiness because all this jolly good time might be taken away instantly? It's like I live my life in the constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop. So I "tone down" my happiness and brace myself for the next disaster in life that would inevitably happen.

According to Brene, gratitude is the antidote to this fear. And I think that makes sense. We are grumpy people who are badly hungry for joy because we are starving from a lack of gratitude.

What does gratitude have to do with my title "How Am I Fortunate?". I mentioned earlier that I wanted to cultivate a gratitude habit. That question is supposed to make me reflect and see in what ways I am fortunate. I am not going to list down everything, but I will be grateful for one thing only.

I am fortunate because I have a strong sense of self-awareness. I am not bragging, but it really is one of my strong traits that others often point out. My ex-counselor encouraged me to continue cultivating it because it gives me the power to influence the outcomes of my fight against mental struggles. There are many more benefits, but this is the benefit my ex-counselor emphasized the most.

So there. I have reflected on the "gratitude" question and answered it accordingly. I will continue to answer more questions in the coming days and continue my pursuit of gratitude.

As for the book, I still have several more chapters left to read. But I will take my time to reflect on the points Brene presented and seek answers or, if needed, confront myself with my shortcomings and resolve to change.

That's it for now. If you read this far, thank you. I appreciate it so much! Kindly give me a follow if you like my content. I mostly write about making art, life musing, and our mundane yet charming family life here in Klang Valley, Malaysia.

Thank you for visiting and reading my post. I hope you like it!

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1 year ago