As we begin to approach the holiday season, there are a lot of messages about gratitude, giving thanks and showing appreciation popping up all over the Internet. I feel like there's enough quality conversation happening on this topic already, so I want to talk about the perks of being ungrateful.
I want to preface this by saying gratitude is a practice that has absolutely transformed my life. From verbally expressing "thank you" to the universe (yes, out loud), loving and appreciating those close to me and learning how to live in the present moment so that I don't take a single thing for granted -- gratitude is a practice that has enriched my experiences, allowed me to feel joyful and taught me to truly appreciate what I have now.
But the practice of being "ungrateful" for certain things in my life? That, my friends, has been the most enormous catalyst for positive change in my life. I would not be where I am today, sharing my heart with you, doing work that I absolutely love, if I had not allowed myself to be "ungrateful" in the past.
Why Being "Ungrateful" Rocks
Six years ago, I ended a long-term relationship with my high-school sweetheart, months after leaving an incredible, well-paying job. I distinctly remember an email sent to me by my "freshly exed" boyfriend telling me that I was ungrateful. That I was "too busy complaining" about everyone and everything to appreciate what I had. I can completely understand this perspective of the situation.
When someone who seems to have everything, or even just something, it's "not okay" to be unhappy.
"At least you have a job."
"At least he doesn't hit you."
"At least you're not living in some third-world country with no access to clean water."
Yes, being grateful that you are able to have a problem like "just" hating your job, or being in a relationship that "just" doesn't serve you -- that's a mindset shift that will single-handedly change your view of the world and your ability to appreciate what you have.
But it's also completely possible to appreciate the fact that you have a job and still hate it. To still feel drained and miserable at the end of each day. To feel so out of place among your co-workers that going to work each day makes you physically nauseated.
It's possible to appreciate that you're with a really great guy, but still feel empty and alone within the relationship. To have no passion, no connection and nothing to talk about.
Recognizing that you're not happy, that your relationship or job doesn't serve you on some fundamental level -- that's often perceived as being "ungrateful" by those that can't put themselves in your shoes.
To hell with it. Be ungrateful. Honor yourself and do what's best for you.
Someone who can't be proud of you for recognizing that something isn't working for you in your life, and support you in making the necessary changes to feel joy, they're probably the type of person who only has their best interest in mind anyway. So why care what they think?
Permission to Be Ungrateful
When you've mastered the art of appreciating what you have for what it is, but you're still deeply discontent with the situation, you have permission to be "ungrateful."
You have permission to dislike your job.
You have permission to leave it, despite the great pay or projects. Despite the fact that your friends and family can't believe you would.
You have permission to end your relationship.
You are not obligated to stay with a great guy who isn't right for you. Despite the fact that you love each other, that he's trying his best to make you happy or that everyone thinks you're a perfect fit.
You have permission to want more out of life.
Despite having more than other people or having things they really wish they had.
You have permission to want more than "good enough" -- to dream larger and take the necessary steps to live a bigger and bolder life.
You have permission to honor your needs and desires.
No one else knows what your life is like. No one else can understand. Stop expecting them to. Rid your life of toxic, unsupportive people. Honor yourself.
Being "ungrateful" means you're awake to the reality of your situation.
Feeling discontent, miserable or "ungrateful," despite knowing that you're lucky or blessed... There's nothing wrong with it! In fact, you should be thrilled that your inner guidance system, your inution, knows that you're not living the life you're meant to live.
This is good news.
It means that you're awake enough to realize that something in your life isn't serving you. Isn't fulfilling or the right fit for you. And once you know this, once you recognize these feelings and honor your "ungratefulness," you are instantly empowering yourself to make the necessary changes.
Never let someone else tell you that honoring your intuition and gut to leave a situation they deem to be "just fine" means you're ungrateful. Be grateful that you at least have a job, that he's at least not hitting you and that you have access to clean water... but take action to make changes anyway. You deserve joy, passion, love and fulfillment. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
Take Action Now!
Consider the following questions and leave a comment with your thoughts:
Where are you not being honest with yourself about what's not working for fear of being "ungrateful"? What steps can you take this week to make the necessary changes in your life?
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Here she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help young women build passion-based businesses. Click here to download her free guide, "The Unexpected Trick to Transforming Your Life With ONE Single Question."
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