“I should be grateful.” If I got a mala every time I hear those words, I’d have a lot of beads.
Just recently, a woman said this phrase after spending several minutes crying. Underneath her words, all I felt was her anger and sadness.
Like many of us, somewhere along the way, she was told that she’s supposed to be happy and grateful for what she has: grateful for all the opportunities that life has presented her, grateful for the little time she has for herself.
She was told to shy away from expressing her true emotions and to spend her time reciting affirmations that she didn’t necessarily believe in instead.
As I listened to her story, I recognized a pattern that has played out in my own life. It goes something like this:
I feel sad.
I’m not supposed to feel sad.
There’s no reason to be sad.
I’m not that kind of person.
My life is great, I should be grateful.
We judge, reason, analyze, and rationalize our feelings in an attempt to feel in control, yet we often forget that our feelings are there for a very good reason.
When we allow ourselves to naturally express how we’re really feeling, a shift occurs and new feelings tend to show up.
Eugene Gendlin, a former professor at the University of Chicago phrased this idea so eloquently in saying the following: