Nearly a week ago, I had the opportunity to speak on gratitude at church. I wanted to take some of those ideas and discuss them here.
Coming To Seek Gratitude
Before I get into this post, I feel that I need to explain something. I am not a fan of nor support “ toxic positivity.” If you don’t know what this is, Psychology Today provides this definition,
“Toxic positivity hinges on a lack of awareness of negative information…”
In conclusion, toxic positivity is excessive, inappropriate positivity to the point of denying negative reality. If you’ve read some of my past posts, you may know know that I am about realistically acknowledging and overcoming our challenges. We can’t transcend is ignored.
To provide some background, for most of my earlier life, I felt filled with persistent dread and the constant need to “prepare for the worst case scenario.” I don’t know when or how, but I realized that I could excessively prepare for the worst that may be unlikely to happen or I could seek out the positives and welcome them with gratitude. This began with small steps that, eventually, became easier. Allowing myself be controlled by dread and pessimism was no longer acceptable.
Gracias a Dios (Thanks Be To God)
Growing up, this was a quintessential Mexican phrase that I heard often in my parents’ house. If something good happened, someone said it. At the end of a meal, we similarly concluded by someone saying “Gracias a Dios.”
In hindsight, I think that this came down to at least two things. First, I grew up Roman Catholic, so the idea of God’s blessings was very prominent in our household. We were taught that God gave us blessings and, consequently, it was right to give thanks, so that we may get more blessings so that we may share some to help others and improve our world.
Second, I grew up visiting some of my family in Mexico. Some were still farmers. In a very clear way, I saw how much was a direct result produced by their own hands. Yes, there were goods and supplies that they bought, but there was corn grown on their land and animals that were raised. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. I could imagine how the reasons to be grateful were obvious.