6 Reasons You Don’t Feel Grateful

Gratitude Chalk

Grateful people are delightful to be around!

When you don’t feel grateful, you tend to be dissatisfied, critical, and take things for granted. When people are ungrateful, we tend to shy away from them.

Gratitude is an emotion and a feeling. And gratitude is something to be practiced, a habit you choose to engage in. It’s a way of thinking.

Gratitude or the lack of gratitude flows out of your beliefs. If you want to feel more grateful, you have to shift the way you think. For example, the most grateful people have beliefs like these:

  • God is good all the time!
  • There are amazing gifts in every challenge and every difficult circumstance
  • Noticing and appreciating the little stuff makes a big difference
  • There are valuable lessons to be learned
  • Happiness is an inside job – material things and people don’t determine my happiness
  • There are always blessings
  • Everything is temporary
  • Life is valuable

The only person who is able to determine how grateful you are is YOU! Practicing gratitude is about deliberately looking for and choosing to focus on the positives in your life. It’s not turning a blind eye to the challenges you are facing; it’s about hunting hard for the good stuff in the midst of those challenges. It’s about letting small things count in big ways and choosing what you will dwell on.

Scripture…

has this to say about our thinking:

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

…we take every thought captive and make it obey.  Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (GNT)

Examine me and test me, Lord; judge my desires and thoughts. Psalm 26:2 (GNT)

The mind (thinking) governed by the flesh is death, but the mind (thinking) governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 (NIV)

Repeatedly throughout Scripture, especially in the Psalms, we are urged to give thanks to God for a variety of reasons, including His unfailing love! And when you do life from a loved place, knowing you are deeply loved by Him, gratitude naturally follows.

In my own personal gratitude practice, I direct my gratitude to God. It’s a way of intentionally noticing the many ways He is actively at work in my life and to appreciate the gifts big and small He sends my way. Making this a part of my morning time with God also encourages me to look at life through a different and more positive lens than my default lens. The additional perk – that focus on gratitude enables me to interact more positively with others too.

Maybe that shift in thinking is motivation enough for you to embrace being more grateful. If not, perhaps some of these additional benefits are compelling reasons to be more intentional in pursuing gratitude.

Gratitude

With benefits like that, who doesn’t want to live a life overflowing with gratitude? Yet, practicing gratitude is often harder than you might think. Have you encountered obstacles like these?

1. Hurrying

When I‘m rushing around in hurry, hurry mode I miss what’s right in front of me. It’s all a blur! And it’s hard to notice, enjoy, or appreciate much of anything at break neck speed.

However, when I slow down and savor what’s around me, I gain a new sense of wonder and delight that makes me abundantly grateful!

Gratitude needs space to unfold!

Think about it: what you are grateful for exists in the present. You must pay attention right now, and that’s next to impossible when you are in a hurry.

2. Expecting Extra Awesome

Being truly transparent with you, in the past I had ridiculously high expectations that kept me from being grateful. I only let what was “extra awesome” or epic count. As a result, very few things ended up qualifying making me grateful for very little.

Turns out it’s the little things in life that are worthy of gratitude. They have a crazy way of adding up to something extra awesome! Simple things that are easy to take for granted, but life without them would be a whole lot less wonderful.

3. Comparing

When I’m too focused on what everyone else has, is doing, or accomplishing, I miss all the good stuff going on in my own life. I want to celebrate the amazing things going on in the lives of those around me – that’s worth celebrating. And I want to take stock of my own pile of blessings!

4. Bad Habits

Bad habits are great big barriers to gratitude! Do you have a habit of engaging in any of these bad habits?

      • Feeling entitled
      • Complaining
      • Being critical
      • Feeling guilty
      • Worrying
      • Trying to control everything
      • Living out of fear
      • Trying to be the best
      • Being unwilling to forgive
      • Not being willing to say “no”

These habits will short circuit your ability to be grateful in a heartbeat!

Gratitude Habits

Want to proactively cultivate more gratitude in your life? Consider adopting a few of these habits:

  • Think about someone you are grateful for and why each time you brush your teeth
  • Send a snail mail thank you note, email, or text to someone and let them know how grateful you are for who they are or for what they have done. Be specific!
  • Share what you are grateful for on social media
  • Count your blessings
  • Show your gratitude by tipping well or supporting a charity
  • Smile – it lets the people around you know they are important
  • Say thank you in person often!
  • Be fully present – turn off your phone and actively listen. It demonstrates your value and appreciation for others.
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Find creative and personal ways to show gratitude

5. General Gratitude

Having a general sense of gratitude is better than not being thankful at all – sort of the light version of gratitude. Why not go deeper and be more specific? Zeroing in on exactly what you are grateful for increases the chance of you benefiting from all the good stuff in the infographic above!

Challenge yourself to go beyond “I’m grateful for the fall color on my drive today” and dial into the reason you are grateful. “I am grateful for fall color because it’s beautiful and I appreciate beauty – it reminds me that there’s something enjoyable about every season. That gives me hope!”

6. Stinking Thinking

Your thinking is the starting point. It colors how you feel and the actions you take. With that in mind, doing life from a place of gratitude then has the potential to shift the way you feel and what you do! Is your Fear Monster, a scarcity mentality, or some other funky way of thinking hindering your ability to be grateful?

Gratitude doesn’t just happen. It is a habit; a choice!

Imagine for a moment how being more grateful might impact your life, work, relationships and goals!

What needs to change for you to take being grateful to the next level in your life?

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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