3 Places I Found Gratitude this Week
I’m grateful that I’ve learned to let go of the idea that I have to be fine.
Practicing gratitude has been an extreme gift for me for the last two years. Hitting rock bottom emotionally has shown me the importance of the here and the now. Years ago, I wrote a poem that included this line: I am thankful for my struggle because, without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength. Everything I’ve ever walked through has been a lesson. Being a human is complex and extremely hard sometimes. We all have our struggles, pain, and moments of suffering. But what I learned through the lows of my life, through the mud of my trauma, and in the thick of my darkest days is that the light can and will return. We live in a world that idolizes “no worries” and being positive even when things feel their heaviest. Something I’ve learned over the many years I’ve been healing and growing is that its’ okay to not see the bright side all of the time. It’s okay to give ourselves permission to be with and in our pain. Why? Because more times than not, we refuse to look at what stings and causes the suffering to begin with. Ignoring our heaviness will not lighten the load. Facing it can set us free.
When I started my intentional gratitude practice at the tail end of 2020, I’d become “I’ll be alright” Queen, even though I was run down, worn out, and not okay. It wasn’t until I let myself feel and face my true feelings that I was able to befriend them and bear witness to them without judgment and sugar coating. Pretending to be fine is a defense mechanism that, for me, stemmed from childhood and not feeling safe with those around me. That turned into the deeply unfortunate habit of not feeling safe with myself. Admitting that something was wrong wasn’t innate to me. It was foreign and terrifying. Self-trust was non-existent for many years—and instead of saying—I’m not okay, I’m hurting. I need help—I put on a mask of okayness. I felt more comfortable suffering through what I was going through than admitting that I needed someone to hold space for and with me. I’d do this masquerading all while wearing a smile. Internally, I was sobbing and undone. All in the name of being “independent.” All in the name of looking stronger than I actually was.
The Fall of 2020 taught me that I don’t have to be strong or performative. No one is keeping tabs on my strengths and weaknesses. I am safe. I can say what I need. I can share what I feel. No one is judging me. I’m grateful that I’ve learned to let go of the idea that I have to be fine, good, and cheerful when my world feels like it’s crumbling. I’m grateful that I have people in my life who invite and welcome me to be with everything that comes to the surface emotionally. I’m thankful that I see the value of feeling my feelings. As I lean deeper into my healing, I’m learning to be authentic, compassionate, and radically honest with myself.
I found gratitude in the loving embrace of my sister-friend, Josefina. When I got to her house and knocked on her yellow door, I heard her sweet twin babies babbling. When she opened the door, she hugged me so tight and long. We stood at the door—arms wrapped around one another. The energy of that hug said, “sis, everything doesn’t have to be okay today—but I am here.” We all need this. Permission to collapse and cry and not need someone to tell us it’s okay when it’s not. Sometimes, all we need is a hug and the space to fall apart in the arms of someone we love.
I found gratitude in the walks I had in Tampa. Josefina and I walked and talked. We laughed, people watched, stopped to touch and smell the citrus trees, and took our sweet time. There is so much presence that can be found in taking things moment by moment. No agenda, no rushing, nowhere to be. There is ease embedded in every moment that we choose to be completely tuned in and present with what’s in front of us.
I found gratitude in a sweet orange cream popsicle. The day was hot, and my body was sweaty. Finding a cool shady spot to enjoy the cold treat brought me back to childhood. I used to love ice pops growing up. I felt so happy and at peace with my pop, the shade, and the shared silence Fina and I had while we ate.
I’ve found that gratitude practice invites me to sit with the quiet moments more. It opens me up to deeper listening and peace of mind. It allows me to feel deeply and connect more with those around me. It’s shaped my ability to show up, not just for myself but for those around me.
Community: Where have you found gratitude this week?
Thank you so much for reading Gratitude Weekly. If you like this newsletter, please subscribe here and share it with a friend.