The Circular Logic of Always Being Grateful


If you google the word gratitude, you will be rewarded with MILLIONS of positive and uplifting affirmations. Many of the people I care about post these little tidbits and they seem to show up just when you need them most. They are important reminders of how lucky we are to live in a comfortable home, have healthy children, enough food to eat etc etc. However, when the time comes that you are going through something challenging, it can be difficult to well, COMPLAIN. When we are upset or need to share an issue, we are constantly reminded that there is always someone worse off than us and in many cases, that is true. We are all dealing with our own challenges on many levels. For some, it’s a lack of money or resources, for others, terrifying medical challenges, job loss, divorce looming, just to name a few. We should be able to share the things that we are feeling without feeling guilty.

I’ve been upset that I was unable to get away this summer, even for a day or weekend. However, I had three major issues arise that became too big to ignore and any hope of a vacation was severed for the year. However, I am truly grateful to have been able to resolve two of the problems so far and am working diligently on the third. Perhaps these types of situation gave birth to the term “Staycation”. So, I’m tucking my disappointment away and realizing that while my summer didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I’m working towards things the best way I can. I know others who are struggling through more challenges than I am, so I see my disappointment as ‘trivial’. It’s hard to complain about missing out on a weekend at the beach when someone you care about is losing a parent or their marriage is falling apart.

sarcastic gratitude

However, I believe there is a flip side to this. If we are never allowed to express our disappointment or upset at smaller things in life, then we deny ourselves the opportunity to express how we feel. I think that there are many uplifting stories that we read about people who have never had things and are given beautiful chances to live a new life or we hear stories of a person rescued from a life of despair and devoid of hope, so my not getting to go on vacation gets relegated to the hashtag #firstworldproblems. So, I think in order to overcome our disappointments, sometimes it can truly help to hear of these uplifting stories so that we can understand gratitude and also to learn that things will not always go our way.


With the easy ability to instantly post our feelings and receive in return supportive statements from others, we’ve been slowly closing the gap between being able to truly feel what is happening to us and trying to understand it ourselves. By receiving instant “likes” and supportive comments, we are quickly given compassion, which helps us feel connected and not so alone (especially when the problem is what others have gone through) at the same time we never truly are facing anything alone anymore. I’m still trying to figure out if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

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