For years I’ve held blanket gratitude to be one of our highest virtues..a quality I felt linked to transcendence itself. But over the last year or two, this quality has changed its timbre for me.
The first question is what should we be grateful for? Are we grateful for positive experiences? If so, we’re denying the gift of negative experiences in helping us grow.
Or are we grateful for negative experiences? Then, we’re denying the gift of positive experiences in our life in helping us grow.
Are we grateful for all experience, negative or positive? If so, then the value of gratitude is rendered useless – there is no alternative.
A second note is that gratitude can distort our interpretation of an experience. Reframing abuse, trauma, calamity, and torture as somehow being blessings is perverse, needing no elaboration.. Sure we learn and grow tremendously from such experiences, and in many cases grow even stronger and more grounded than before. However, it reeks of perversion to be grateful for these types of experiences themselves.
As a courtesy and as an human, social emotion we feel, gratitude is incredible and essential. It’s still beautiful and feels nice to express and feel thanks. However, as a divine quality that highlights certain experiences to be grateful for, as well as perversely reframing others, blanket gratitude is not the answer.