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Letting Go of the Expectations of Practicing Gratitude

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

How many times have you commenced a Diary of Gratitude?

I personally have lost count…

So, I went looking for all the diaries I’ve bought specifically to commence a new gratitude practice.

Would you believe, I found 15 diaries? And that’s only for Gratitude. Let’s not get into all the ones for the other areas of my life.

The ‘right’ diary

I’ve gone through stages where I dedicate myself to practising gratitude, which will encompass finding the ‘right’ diary, and the ‘right’ pen, that will magically channel my thoughts and feelings.

Setting myself in the right space. Usually, watching the sunrise. With my singing bowl to open and close the ritual.

I’ve done this over and over again, only to find myself losing interest a week or so down the track.

I wonder why?

Perfectly imperfect

For this blog, I’ve reflected on previous attempts of practising gratitude and realised I’ve put myself under an enormous amount of pressure to be all things. To be ‘perfect’.

Wanting to have that magical experience of being ‘at one’, I thought I had to have the perfect diary, pen, and environment to be aligned.

I approached this exercise of gratitude differently.

There was no right book or pen.

No finding the right time or environment. The brass singing bowl sat in its usual spot most of the time, untouched.

I found it weird at first, like something was missing.

Similar to one day finding that you’re not wearing your favourite bracelet, when you’ve never been without it before.

However, it was also liberating.

If I didn’t write in the mornings, I found time in the evenings, 10 minutes max.

A letter of gratitude

The most powerful experience for me, though, was when I was writing a letter of gratitude to a dear friend of mine.

It was a time of great loss for her. I felt kind of guilty, writing my treasured friend a letter of gratitude for what she has brought to my life, at a time when she was experiencing such deep sorrow.

I created time to write my letter, as I wanted to choose my words carefully, to honour her and not make it all about me.

Having gratitude isn’t just being grateful for the material things in one’s life. It’s also about honouring all the little things that come to you consciously or unconsciously.

How someone’s smile spreads to their eyes and fills them with sparkle, illuminates the space between you, and creates warmth and joy.

My take-away for this special exercise is that practising gratitude actually is to be consciously aware of who and what is in my life. Giving praise for the impact they have, regardless of how small or big it may seem.

Now to my next exercise: find a way to repurpose 15-plus diaries and continue my journey of having no expectations of myself to have all things ‘perfect’.

Read More Survivor Gratitude Blogs

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Learning the Balance of Gratitude

How Practicing Gratitude Changed My Life

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