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Gratitude as an Act of Resistance
Friday Photo Post
I’ve been revisiting some previous writings, and am struck all over again about the importance of gratitude as an act of resistance.
We live in a society which is constantly telling us to strive for more, more stuff, more money, more influence and also that we’ll never be good enough in order to sell us more products which can help achieve the aim of being enough (I’m looking at you, beauty and fashion industries!). It’s chipping away at our sense of self, at our ability to be content with who we are and what we have, slowly destroying any sense of wellbeing.
In 2011 I was challenged to begin a gratitude habit which has helped me through some significantly difficult times in the intervening years. So I started doing a #3GoodThings daily post on social media. I should point out that I didn’t begin the trend, I just joined in with a hashtag that was already being used! It quickly had a positive impact on me, and also on my friends and their families and their friends. It’s a daily practice that pushes back against dissatisfaction, against anxiety about what may or may not be happening to us or around us. It resists the urge to let our brains rule our emotions.
Gratitude and making it a daily habit to look for good things is a legitimate way to deal with all manner of traumatic experiences, it helps us to teach our brains that there are good things in life. It helps us to change our perspective from one that is always concentrating on the bad or difficult events happening to us or around us, which is what our brains want to do as a default, to one that recognises hard circumstances but is trained to look for good in amongst the bad and the ugly things of life. We often hear about things which act as triggers for our brains to remember awful experiences; recently I’ve come across the concept of ‘glimmers’ as a counterpoint to triggers. Glimmers are good things in our lives, and they are there, even in the very worst of times because the beauty of this is that the smaller the glimmer, or thing to be thankful for, the better.
3 Good Things
This is why I love #3GoodThings, because we’re not talking about making a great long list, though you may have a long list on good days. But even on a bad day, we can find 3 things to be grateful for. I’ve had days where my good things are painkillers, sunshine and comfortable clothing. If we do this small habit daily it will have a big impact. I know this not only from my own experience but also because back in 2011 one friend said to me, ‘I don’t think I could find three good things every day,' I suggested she try posting it on social media daily for 2 weeks and she did. Those two weeks have become 12 years because it had such an immediately positive impact on her whole outlook on life.
Get Some of the Good Stuff
So, whatever you find yourself doing today, however you’re feeling, why not give it a try. It’s actually more important if life is hard for you right now. Don’t let it become another thing to beat yourself up about, but at the end of each day give yourself a few minutes to think about and record three things that have been good.
What have you got to lose?
Let me know how you get on or if you’ve got a story about how gratitude has impacted your life.