“Healing works through a kind of detox; things have to come up in order to be released….we can’t just push the darkness down, pour pink paint over it and then pretend it’s not there. We have to look at it, accept that it exists and then release it for healing.” Marianne Williamson
As a love coach, one of the things I commonly hear when speaking to clients who are struggling with their marriage that looks pretty damn good from the outside but feels empty and alone inside is, “What’s wrong with me? I should be grateful.” They wonder why – if others could be so grateful for all that I have – why they can’t make it work? Why can’t this be enough? And if this isn’t enough, will anything ever be enough?
Then they begin comparing their marriage and their husband to other people who, in their eyes, have it worse than them:
- “At least he doesn’t beat me.”
- “At least he doesn’t lie or cheat.”
- “At least he’s not like Donna’s husband; I couldn’t take that.”
Comparing our situation to someone else’s might make us feel a little better in the moment, but it doesn’t change our hearts. It doesn’t change how we really feel. It doesn’t take away the longing. It just suppresses it for a moment by thinking, it could be worse.
If you want to experience a shift in your life, there are precious few things that are more powerful than gratitude. But that shift only occurs when the gratitude is real, when it’s sincere, without a lot of comparative baggage weighing it down.
Using comparison to beat yourself into being grateful is like pouring pink paint over the pain. It appears to provide relief in the moment, but the pain still lingers beneath the surface.
I Should be Grateful… and I Still Want More
There’s an assumption that if I’m grateful then I have to accept what-is forever, and so nothing will ever change. Your marriage will never get better. You’ll never feel connected or close with another soul. You’ll always carry with you this sense of sadness and loneliness.
There’s an illusion of permanence around gratitude, but that isn’t real.
You can absolutely be truly grateful and still want change.
You can genuinely appreciate all that you have and still sit in the expectation for having more.
Want what you want.
If your heart can desire it, then you can have it. Even if you’ve never seen it before. Even if you’ve never felt it before. You didn’t magically place that desire in your heart, so you can’t get rid of it either. You might as well love it a little, comfort it a little, and nurture it a little.