Why I want to Burn my Gratitude Journal (but haven’t).

by P. Braithwaite

Lately, in frustrated rants to anyone who’ll listen, I’ve been threating to burn my gratitude journal. I’m not sure where the original thought came from, but it quickly gained momentum in my head. I was attracted to the thought of tossing my gratitude journal into a flame and dancing around it. I could see the wind whipping my afro about while I danced naked. The heat from the flame scares me as I cackled manically. I imagined someone camera phoning me, and putting it on YouTube: Pessimist Loses Her Mind in Prospect Park.

Yeah…all of that was happening in my head.

Why? Why would I want to burn my gratitude journal? What kind of life coach am I?

The answer: a human one.

Look, as I writer, blogger and part-time optimist, I’m the first to admit things are better on the sunny side of life. I love to tell stories and share ideas. I love to reframe things to bring positivity into the world. I’m a solution-oriented person who prefers to see the best.

That said, I’m very f*cking human.

Not every moment is full of gratitude and grace. Yes. I know. There’s a blessing in every day (several), but sometimes I’m just not trying to acknowledge all of that. If happiness is a choice, than unhappiness is one too. And, honestly, discontent is valid…

“I’m unhappy,” I declared to my best friend Trela.
“That’s cool,” she replied. “Just don’t get stuck there.”

I’m not advocating that anyone stay perpetually unhappy. But I think someone needs to say it: a bad mood is okay because, one thing I know for sure, is that nothing lasts forever – not even a shitty mood. I don’t have to apply some ungodly pressure to myself to push myself out of a rut.

Nothing LASTS FOREVER. I promise you won’t get stuck: bad moods do, eventually, subside.

So on days when I don’t feel like acknowledging gratitude, here’s what I do: I throw my gratitude journal across the room and use my compassion journal instead. That’s the journal where every single feeling is okay. No matter how your feeling, dealing or healing, it is important to give yourself enough space to be authentically yourself. If that means you wake up on the grumpy side of life, that’s perfectly fine. You’re still a champ. Try not to get addicted or too attached to what it is you’re feeling because all clinical diagnosis withstanding, when you’re tired of feeling shitty, you’ll make the effort to move on. Forcing it, often, feels worse and if you relax into what you’re feeling, chances are, it will subside.

So why haven’t I burned my gratitude journal, yet?

  1. I’m afraid of fires. Burning a journal feels like something that could quickly kill me.
  2. A bad mood or bad behavior isn’t the truth of who I am. It’s all good; even when its bad. Just because I’m angry right now, doesn’t change my true nature. I am who I am, and I can’t really resist it. I’ll be writing in my gratitude journal again soon enough. And if I burned it, I’d have to start another one from scratch. Gratitude journals have a cumulative effect.

Be well, friends. This too shall pass.