Gratitude & Joy

I’ve been reading a book by Brene Brown, where she talks about our culture of scarcity. She says this…

“Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress. It happens when we’ve been through too much, and rather than coming together to heal (which requires vulnerability) we’re angry and scared and at each other’s throats.”

― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

We think we are not enough.  Not _____ enough.  Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not cool enough, not organized enough, not earning enough, not available enough, not joyful enough…fill in the blank.

I know when I let myself get in that mindset, it brings anxiety and fear.  I worry that I won’t make enough money, that I’m not a good enough friend or wife, that I’m too selfish.

If you have a few minutes, watch the video below.  At one point she says that every person she interviewed about joy, also practiced gratitude.

I’ve seen a lot of pretty little text prints on Pinterest that say,”I will choose Joy.”  I think I get what people mean by saying that but I don’t know that I believe that is really possible.  I can’t manufacture joy.  I can pretend to be happy but that isn’t the same. I’ve learned that when I am joyful is when I am grateful for what I have and who I have in my life.  Honestly, there will always be someTHING that I think I need to make me “happy” and fulfilled.   What we think we need and what we actually need are two very different things.  I’ve often contemplated deleting my Pinterest account because every time I log in I’m bombarded with all sorts of beautiful things that I think I need to have.

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up my prescription.  I strongly dislike going to the pharmacy.  I got there and my stuff wasn’t ready.  After sitting there with a bad attitude for a few minutes I felt really convicted.  Thinking about the millions who have no way to get basic medicine or money to get healthcare, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down that I’m thankful to have enough money to pay for my medicine each month and that I have a way to go get it.

Yoga teacher training was something that I was psyched to possibly start this month. February 12th is the first day.  I’ve been feeling really down that we don’t have the money for it as of now. The go-getter in me is feeling helpless, I usually am able to work an angle or sell some of my stuff but this time that hasn’t happened.  Last night I went to bed feeling defeated and woke up this morning and came across the Brene Brown video.  Again, I decided to practice gratitude.  Of course, I’d love to do the training.  If I can’t, it’s ok.  I have everything that I need. Sometimes I find myself in a happy moment and think,”Oh God, what’s going to go wrong.”  It’s hard but I’ve been trying to be intentional to let myself be happy and have joy in those moments instead of letting fear and anxiety rob me.

What are you grateful for today?  Tell me below in the comments, I love hearing people’s answers to this question.





4 thoughts on “Gratitude & Joy

  1. Emily, thanks for sharing your thoughts and this perspective!
    It feels a little weird to say, but I think what I’m most grateful for right now is the ability to be grateful. I’ve had an overwhelming and emotional couple of months and what times like this tend to draw out of me is out a fear that everything piling up and looming over me will be too much and push me down into a funk, or worse a genuine state of depression. One way I know my fear is unfounded for now is that I still have gratitude. I know it’s gratitude that has me looking forward to each day, even the challenges, and wanting to wake up every morning and live my life and take it all on. So, every day I wake up grateful that the gratitude is still there. It hasn’t slipped away and I still do have a choice to pick it up (and hold on for dear life). And, I think you’re right that it’s a starting point for joy. At least it feels that way for me.

  2. Emily, the struggle with “not enough” is one that I have fought as long as I can remember. I think that focusing instead on what I am grateful for may help me with that battle. So, right this very minute, I am grateful that I have a friend who can be brave and share her thoughts in a way that challenges and inspires me! Thanks!

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