Empty words won’t get you anywhere…
Gratitude is a hot-button topic in many circles. Your yoga teacher, mindfulness teacher, therapist, or life coach may consistently tell you to focus on what you are grateful for. It is used as a tool for manifestation and for mindset change, but what do you do with it?
The big question is: is it enough to just be grateful?
In the ancient yogic texts, there is a lot of discussion about “action”. No, it had absolutely nothing to do with yoga poses, they didn’t even exist yet. Action as the opposite of inaction. The grammatically incorrect phrase I always use is “don’t do nothing”.
So, think about it like this: your therapist tells you that you need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude to change your mindset and curb feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, traumatic experience, and on and on and on we go. Your Yoga teacher insists that if you are grateful, you can change your life.
But the thing we are missing here is: gratitude won’t change your life! Recognizing what you are grateful for and doing something about it will! When you create those lists on paper or in your mind about what you are grateful for, take a step back and really look at how you are showing that. “Put it out into the universe”, they say. But what are you really putting out there?
If you feel grateful for your friends but gossip about them behind their backs, what is that telling the universe? You hold hands and pray and give thanks for a bountiful meal but take no effort to share your prosperity with those who are suffering. You say you are grateful for your body, but when you look in the mirror your thoughts are cruel. Can you imagine the universe doing double take after double take?
I think the universe might be getting mixed messages.
So how do you cultivate a mindset of gratitude and actually use that toward positive action?
The goal is to start to notice. To go beyond the superficial aspects of words and lists. To really take a look at how your actions line up with how you feel. How could that change your body, your relationships, your work, your impact on the world, and your daily life?
So, if you have ever stopped to wonder why just being grateful hasn’t gotten you anywhere- look at what you do and not what you say. I bet there are lots of clues in there about how to best move forward.