21 October, 2020
I've always struggled with the idea of gratitude, despite the fact that practicing deliberate gratitude is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.
To be clear, it's not that I don't feel grateful for my life, for the opportunities that have come my way, for the people who genuinely love me and care for me. Far from it! I'm achingly grateful for all those things and more.
For me, however, gratitude usually comes along with a guilt tax, where feeling grateful instantly translates into feeling unworthy of all the things I'm grateful for. It's difficult to focus on all the good stuff that I'm thankful for when I instantly undermine it to beat myself up about how I don't deserve any of it.
I had been looking for a way to reframe this, when it was suggested that I practice gratitude for general things.
Not for specific things like my family (along with the instant guilt of not deserving such an awesome one), but general things like coffee. Like the fact that autumn is a thing that happens.
Like the fact that jazz exists, that David Bowie made music to listen to, that Iain Banks and Alasdair Gray wrote books. Like the simple and wonderful mechanism of stellar formation.
Gratitude doesn't always have to be an exercise in introspection, and for that I'm doubly grateful right now.