Gratitude Can Live Alongside Other Emotions


Looking on “the bright side” is highly overrated. It’s not that I don’t appreciate people, goodness, etc. in my life. Not at all. But as a society, we are so uncomfortable with raw pain, struggle, and other “negative” emotions. We need to get over it. Gratitude can live alongside other emotions. And those other emotions are every bit as legit to feel and to discuss.

I don’t avoid.

I don’t own any rose-colored glasses. But no one has ever called me Eeyore either. I prefer to think I’m dwelling in reality. I don’t avoid. Like, much at all.

This is a tough time of year for me. From October 23 through December 9, I am plagued by my brain’s knack for remembering dates. This window of time marks all the “lasts” of my mom’s life. I cry a lot. I’m sad a lot. I experience a broad range of “negative” emotions during this time period each year. (Not that they are confined to this time of year, but they are more present than normal.)

I don’t fight them. In fact, I encourage them. I make space in my schedule to engage in activities by myself that help bring them out. Hosting my own pity parties makes me feel better. They happen when everyone else in my house is out at work or school. I don’t want or need company during these moments. It’s the solitude that helps me let go and feel the feels. But if they happen to bleed over into my family coming home, I don’t try to hide it.

BECAUSE of the “negative”, I see the positive

Precisely BECAUSE I give myself these moments, I’m able to keep going. I feel the gratitude for my family, friends, and life BECAUSE I let in the sadness. Gratitude can and does live alongside other emotions. We don’t need to push the sadness, the grief, or any other emotion aside in order to be grateful. I don’t want to be grateful in a vacuum.  I don’t want anything affecting my vision.

If you’ve been wanting permission to take off your rose-colored glasses, you have it. Hopefully you already knew you didn’t need that permission. But I know that sometimes it helps to have it anyway. There’s no “right” way to feel your feels. Do you, boo. That’s the only way to be.


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