Downsides of Gratitude?


Photo: Myself “Fallen Leaves”

Gratitude & Joy are on my mind a lot lately.

My understanding of gratitude and joy, how it has evolved and grown for me, is on my mind a lot lately.

The quality of Gratitude and its power became known to me during the seemingly toughest times of life when I found myself naturally leaning into all that was available for me to depend on – people, basic necessities, nature – every single thing that I was receiving anything from, to help me keep going. Genuine Gratitude swelled from my heart for every perceived blessing, every kind word, every new day, each genuine smile, each laughter that became possible.

Joy was the gift and the jewel that came as the core fragrance of Gratitude. It felt the most amazing to wear on me – something radiated brightly with just Being in this state of Gratitude and Joy.

Then came the awareness that my Gratitude for roles people played in my life was taken for granted and seen as my neediness alone. I wrote a short poem to give this an expression.

On further self exploration, I recognized that deep down I have always felt unworthy and undeserving, having to earn any regard, support from any one else. There was a feeling of indebtedness. I felt obligated to become everything I can for their comfort and be available to pacify any of their struggle. Result was a lack of boundaries, lack of self-compassion and honoring my own needs in favor of what was required of those others who had made any contribution to my life. I had a tendency to disregard any unfairness towards me, constantly justifying it as their humanness.

Eventually I was able to separate my heartfelt gratitude from the feeling of having to give up my true sense of being in return for approval and appreciation. I felt empowered, free and actually very unselfish. I am now available in my best possible ability to be of good service to anyone, when I am truly being myself. No amount of taking on other people’s suffering is going to lessen their’s.

That lead to the awareness of the guilt that permeated the joy available for me. Guilt about how much some other people had not still caught up on the true simple pleasures of life and how they needed to be supported in that. With time I realized, I can honor each person’s journey, feel the tenderness of their suffering but the Gratitude for what is available to each, is their’s to find.

Grief brings us in touch with the core of our being, empathy brings us in touch with the core of humanity.

Each one of us is responsible to use our emotions skillfully and compassionately towards self and others. No matter how many tantrums I threw about the sometimes seemingly treacherous life, I had to live out my own until I was able to choose the right perspectives that led to more Gratitude and Joy. There are so many people that I am grateful for, for showing up to help me keep steering powerfully in the right direction. I just needed to keep the strength to NOT let go of the wheel, and depend completely on others to carry me. The direction I am headed towards comes from within me.

Gratitude is a means and also the gift received through the means. Joy is something that flows through our veins and becomes a natural expression that shows up in relationships and life experiences. There remains no need to stage and create moments of happiness. Joyful moments keep occurring naturally. This happens with looking at some excruciating times of life in the eye – with the eye of Gratitude.

I am finally free to celebrate Gratitude without forever feeling indebted or undeserving of what life offers me through people and opportunities. I am still learning to express joy without the guilt because of how much suffering humans hold within. I share my Joy when moved to do so, in an attempt to inspire more people to move in that direction, share in this pure juice of life and genuinely celebrate life with each other.


This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects. Debbie Roth’s work on this blog is a wonderful inspiration.

82 thoughts on “Downsides of Gratitude?

  1. It is only when we experience the harshness of life that we can come to appreciate and have gratitude in our Hearts for the Gifts of Life. Your story …. so honest! …. reflects mine in so many ways. I know what I’ve been through to obtain self-confidence and so I can say with conviction I have a very good idea of your Journey as you discovered Self. I applaud you loudly, Prag! Once you obtain your own power back rightfully, and that is a very difficult battle …. I know …. we learn to not ever give our power away again. Brava!! I am SO proud of the hard work you have done!!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

    Liked by 2 people

    • This did feel very honest and vulnerable to share Amy. I intend to have the truths of my internal life unfold gradually and powerfully in my writings, so I feel assured I don’t live with pretense. I wonder of the edge though where the strength that comes from truthfulness and vulnerability could blur into overwhelm. I will tread slow and listen to my heart.
      Thank you for seeing and witnessing my process with your true knowing of it. Thank you for applauding, affirming, encouraging me. I can believe now that I would not give up my power again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • This “stuff” is heavy, dear friend, and it is better to go slow and in stages then to undertake too much at once. Your Inner Guidance will let you know when to back off and when to instill more FUN in your life to bring Joy to the forefront.

        Lately much negativity and violence and betrayal have come my way, all of which leaves me asking questions. The hurt is tremendous yet in order to see well and true, one must gently part through the hurt in order to see the “why”. That is what I do.

        And you are very welcome for the applaud. You deserve it well! XOXO

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very thoughtful musings on gratitude, compassion, service, and boundaries. Kudos for the courage to find your truth and take care of yourself while offering service to others. I believe gratitude and joy are natural states when we become rooted in our essential being.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the wisest read in long time. I too learnt this during my most difficult times. In my grief I found many blessings though it may sound wierd. Thank you so much Pragal for sharing and guiding us all. Your writings work as light house and bring us back on right path. Lots of love โค๏ธ

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  4. I so understand the grounding of your emotional journey here dear Pragalbha, in that unworthy feeling which you spoke of. Likewise I grew up with these exact feelings, and a need to prove my worthiness.
    Such truth spoken within this sentence my friend
    “Grief brings us in touch with the core of our being, empathy brings us in touch with the core of humanity.”

    And yes we are each responsible on how we use our emotions towards ourselves and others.. Happiness is a state of Being, and the more we understand the state of Gratitude and joy, the more of it shows up in our lives..

    I hope you continue to enjoy JOY without any attachment to guilt.. Because each of us are on our own path ways, and while we can extend our Empathy into those whose lives are not filled with joy, we mustn’t feel guilty because our lives seem more privileged.
    In a way we should hold more gratitude, because by their lack we are shown the gifts we take for granted daily..

    And it was a great gift when you and I met on the blogsphere Pragalbha

    Love and Blessings my friend, my JOY continue to be in every aspect of your life. โค

    Liked by 1 person

    • That you and I met on the blogosphere is indeed the most precious and miracle of a gift. This is how there remains no difference between the vitual and the real world because our conversations give the greatest soothing affirmation and leave a positive impact in ways so very real.

      I appreciate the direction you are giving me in embodying the gratitude for my joys and privileges while keeping the empathy and my sensitivity intact. It is a skill I am not done building. So much of my awareness keeps deepening with the attempts of understanding what true joy and gratitude looks like.
      Thank you for your love and blessings for me. Much Love to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think our empathic self ever can reconcile our Joy while it seems so many in this world suffer..
        Until I tell myself they too have chosen their path, ( even if it seems its not their choice ) As heartbreaking it is, their tears help us all move forward, In that they are teaching us compassion, We need compassion and empathy to bring about the LOVE we have so separated from.. Once we understand the LOVE they give us by their experiences, I can then turn my thoughts around and bring in Gratitude for their sacrifice..
        Life is complex, Yet Simple.. as it all comes back to basic emotions of Fear and Love.. And How we have become trapped within this construct of a matrix, that others feed off of fear..
        I learn every day… I am not perfect by any means.. I have still many faults and thoughts to conquer… All we can do is try to be the best we can be..
        We learn and we grow…
        So enjoy your NOW moments and fill each and every moment with as much Joy as you can.. Tomorrow is another day.. And you know what they say about tomorrow.. It never comes.. โค
        Hugs and Stay blessed. โค

        Liked by 1 person

        • Once we understand the LOVE they give us by their experiences, I can then turn my thoughts around and bring in Gratitude for their sacrifice.. – this statement of yours is so deep, I read it multiple times. Wow yes so much we learn from suffering itself, there is a purpose to everything. Each has chosen their path really and we receive from being the witness to it all.
          I have days when I see only faults in myself, and how much I need to grow …then I come back to finding compassion for myself, pacifying that the process will always keep going and I will never feel perfect.
          We create the New Earth in this moment NOW. I celebrate with you all that it brings us.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Good to know you are finding more compassion for yourself.. Keep celebrating. There are many good people on this Earth and we have to keep calm, and create within our BE-ing that which we visualise New Earth to be.. Keep Manifesting in the NOW of moments.. LOVE and Blessings my friend โค

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I can relate so well to feeling guilty about my fortunate life situation while others are suffering. Thank you for the timely reminder that “no amount of taking on other peopleโ€™s suffering is going to lessen theirโ€™s.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pragalbha, wow what a Self-honoring post! I so acknowledge you for your honest and thoughtful exploration of what gratitude is truly for you, beyond any patterns of pleasing and low self-esteem. And in what you’re saying on joy is the freedom of allowing each person to have their own journey. I see YOU doing that so beautifully and with great courage. My heart is with you. Thank you for this tremendous contribution to #ForgivingFridays! Remember, you are so loved. ~Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    • ps – I am so glad to hear that you’re able to experience gratitude and the gift of this. It warms my heart Pragalbha. ๐Ÿ™‚ By the way, my spiritual teacher has a wonderful saying, “Love is the healer. Joy is the expression.” ~J-R. I love that. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Debbie thank you for how you deeply support the power of seeing it for what exactly it is. Your approach of forgiveness becomes a natural part of this process now, softening it in how it feels. Thank you for affirming and acknowledging me in how I am doing with this. Much Love dear friend on the Path.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sometimes I feel so much joy, so ,much gratitude without there being a specific reason, and then there is a constant nudging guilt, the feeling that I don’t deserve this joy!
    I am yet to reach the place where I enjoy that joy without the guilt, but I am trying. and also that place seems like sheer bliss!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I recognize what you say very clearly Moushmi. Keep going with as much love and compassion for your own self – is what I can say. This is the right way to go and all the experiences on the way are valid.
      Thank you very much for sharing how this post spoke to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful Pragalbha, straight from the heart and soul! Love the poem too. Lots of nice alliteration. The service you provide to others through this blog, though your positivity and spirituality is immense. Keep on going. Anita x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: It’s Forgiving Fridays! Today’s topic is the Endless Gift of Self-Forgiveness – Plus More! :) – ForgivingConnects

  10. Your thoughts and discoveries are always so interesting to me! I loved your quote and photo of leaves, as a wonderful affirmation for a healthy experience of gratitude! Also, I can and have related to what you wrote here,
    โ€œI recognized that deep down I have always felt unworthy and undeserving, having to earn any regard, support from any one else. There was a feeling of indebtedness. I felt obligated to become everything I can for their comfort and be available to pacify any of their struggle. Result was a lack of boundaries, lack of self-compassion and honoring my own needs in favor of what was required of those others who had made any contribution to my life. I had a tendency to disregard any unfairness towards me, constantly justifying it as their humanness.โ€ My adaptations to those discoveries and behaviors have often needed new adaptations, as I grow.
    Thereโ€™s always so much Iโ€™m working on, in improving myself, my self love… etc. I am just so touched by your open-heartedness and all the wisdom you have gained through our own processes that you so freely share here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Thereโ€™s always so much Iโ€™m working on, in improving myself, my self loveโ€ฆ ” I am so with you in this dear KM. It is a relentless and sometimes tiring pursuit, so reminders of self compassion can always be used. I feel gratified to know that you relate and appreciate my perspectives here. True that a healthy experience of gratitude was a learning curve for me. Thank you for so kindly taking the time to read and share your reflections with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: It’s Forgiving Fridays! Today is “A Year in Review – and a Forgiving Vacation!” – ForgivingConnects

  12. The #1 thing I always love about reading your posts is the sense that you stay diligently close to Becoming Your True Self. It’s this tenaciousness that makes the journey easier; not necessarily shorter. We are so blessed to have and to have had people in our lives who have assisted us in ways we needed, and wanted, which ever came first. However, showing how grateful we are is two-pronged. It may be that we’re meant to pass it on to others, not just to people we believe we feel we owe. Besides, how do you repay such kindnesses? Certainly not by becoming indentured. Just as they chose to help us in a way unique to them and their experiences, talents, and lifestyles, so should we help them in a way of our choosing. If it cramps our style, we owe it to ourselves to move along. Keep your seat belt firmly fastened. Helping others and being helped ourselves need not be a project!

    Joy is so lovely. Just the word alone massages my heart strings. I love feeling joyful so much, I keep a constant reminder in the form of a gold necklace on my bedpost. I want the feeling running down the wood into my bed, upon my pillow, and through my body even as I sleep. Your joy doesn’t belong to anybody but you. It takes its own form and shapes itself to fit your spirit. It can only be taken if it is given, and trust me if somebody else doesn’t want joy in their life, you couldn’t pay them to take some. The caution is: Their attempting to liberate you of your joy and destroying it. They don’t want you becoming a mirror, mesmerizer, or a mentor. In my opinion, the only thing we owe our fellow humans is respect and vice versa. Everything else, is off limits unless we just happen to be feeling generous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow you just injected me with exactly what I needed! I needed this straightforward shot of brightness and lightness that burst a genuine smile on me and a laughter too! You do have this unique ability dear friend! I love love how you said it all here.
      “Helping others and being helped ourselves need not be a project!” – this is a sparkly gem my friend. High Five!
      Your take on Joy, your seeing of how I tread my path, the unaware perspectives that drain my joy because of the love we share – Thank you my friend for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • What’s fortunate for me in making comments back to you is that you lay your posts all out with such honesty. In keeping with my ‘no beating around the bush’ mantra, I say it like I mean it, with plenty of hugs, and sincere hopes that you feel that. I wish you the highest and best always!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Things I have tried not to say | Infinite Living

  14. Nice to know about Gratitude and joy.There is a great saying “Never forget what others have done for you and never remember what you have done for others”. Joy is the most basic and indispensable dimension of human life. I have written short write up on it if time permits you to visit the following links.
    Thanks, bye for now and have a nice day ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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