The reason gratitude is hard sometimes is the same reason that it works at all: it pulls us out of our own monkey brain, chattering away nonsensically, and plants us back in the moment. Back into the world around us.
Striving for better has been a characteristic that’s brought me a lot of success and reward. But I tend to see those rewards as obligatory, not as something to celebrate. Because they’re rewards for things I “should” be doing anyway.
My brain can be trained to notice the feelings as something apart from me, clouds floating through the sky, sometimes maybe bringing rain or a storm. As in real life, we can grumble at the rain, take shelter from the storm, but inherently understand it’s part of our life here on Earth, that the rain is needed for life. We don’t analyze what we could have done to stop the rain from happening.
Yesterday, I had the realization that I’ve been carrying around something since a very young age, and I’m only now feeling the true weight of it, and how much it slows me down.
It’s so hard to see these signs when they’re close up, happening to me. But, there they are, in my recent blog posts, in my journal, churning quite literally in my gut.
That space between being prepared and doing the thing is where I create a lot of my own anxiety. Where I make it hard. Where I fall for my reptilian brain interpreting fear as something to avoid at all costs instead of jumping into.
If the bars I set for myself turn into expectations, then no wonder I can’t celebrate clearing them. And even if I set the bar really high for myself (which I know I do), then anything less becomes a failure. It means I define failure as anything less than the absolute best. It means I define success as doing what is expected of me. There is no room for celebration in that equation.
But anyway, here I am, writing these words.
“Maybe I have an expectation that if only I do things right, then things will be easier… and the converse therefore is true, if things are hard then I’m not doing something right.”
Above all, I was sad for the woman who finds it hard to have compassion for herself and truly believe that she doesn’t need to be fixed.