The hypocrisy of gratitude

For the more privileged of us, there are plenty of opportunities to be grateful. It’s easy to be grateful at Thanksgiving when your parents decided to decline the invitation from the couple that voted for Trump, you’re on a reprieve from school can avail of all the snacks in your parent’s house. It’s easy to feel grateful when you’re in a new relationship and everything feels bright and shiny. It’s an absolute breeze to be thankful when you get a promotion at work, you have a great night with friends, you’re having a great hair day or get that perfect dress on sale.

It’s easy to “practice gratitude” when the universe gives you a lot to be grateful for. Part of me thinks being thankful then doesn’t really matter.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. When I told my mom how tough I was finding everything, she told me to be grateful: I wasn’t homeless, I didn’t have any mouths to feed, I’m student loan free. And of course, those are all great things, but the things I do have in my life can be clouded by the bad things that seem enormous and exhausting and just insurmountable.

But I don’t think gratitude in the face of adversity means that your suffering should be diminished or qualified. Yes, certain aspects of my life really SUCK right now, but I have wonderful friends (albeit currently not in state) who have been so supportive and understanding and willing to listen to me complain for the 1000th time about the job search process. I can’t even imagine how awful this would be without them. And I’m grateful that by some miracle I managed to convince these rad people that I’m worth hanging out with.

Think about when you express gratitude. Most of us only do it when our life is going well. And of course it’s good to appreciate the good stuff that does happen to us. It’s easy to see things by the light of the day, but much harder to find them in the dark.

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