Feeling Guilty About Gratitude? Mental Health Strategies For The Holidays

This is too important not to share with a hug and a smile for you, for life and for all it brings. It comes from Geoff Steurer, a marriage and family therapist.  He says:

We’re about a week away from Thanksgiving where we reflect on those things for which we’re grateful. We hear expressions of gratitude for family, friends, health, and other things that are going well. You might even hear expressions of gratitude for trials and lessons learned. Depending on where you are in your healing journey, these expressions of gratitude can prompt a smile or an eye roll. Or both. 

If you’re going through a crisis or some other personal challenge, please recognize that you get to work through your process at your own pace. You may be in the room with someone who has been dealing with something for thirty years and they’ve finally reached a place where they are more accepting of this trial. You might sit next to someone who is so tired of crying about their struggles that they are going to focus on something positive just for one day. We simply don’t know the backstories behind these expressions of gratitude. 

So, this means that you get to have your own backstory for your struggles. Your life may be in pieces right now and you’re grateful you even made it out of your pajamas. You may be struggling to find anything good in your life right now and are simply grateful for the nice meal in front of you. You might have some healing and can express gratitude for some things but not for others. 

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m a big fan of finding gratitude in large and small ways on a regular basis. It’s good for our mental and physical health to pay attention to what’s working well in our lives. However, it’s also okay to take your time getting there. Trauma is real and it can be difficult to see the light behind a dark cloud. It’s okay that some things feel like a blessing and a curse. Life is complicated, so don’t let a national holiday pressure you to share things you’re not sure how to discuss in mixed company.

At the same time, the same national holiday can remind us what is ultimately good for our souls, even if you’re not ready for it. If you can find things for which to be grateful, I hope you’ll share them with others. If you’re not quite there, please know you can hold space for wanting to be grateful…someday.

That is powerful stuff that is of true value!