4 Ways "Being Grateful" is Holding You Back From Success

08/12/2016 08:05 am ET
Is "being grateful" making you complacent?
Michael Lanci
Is "being grateful" making you complacent?

For the first 18 years of my life, I lived in my sister’s shadow. Being an extremely shy person from the get-go, I welcomed this title from the get-go because it gave me an “opening” with people. A guaranteed icebreaker.

“As time went on, I realized that my own identity was starting to get lost amongst the crowd.”

In second grade, I started to gain some extra weight around my tummy. Over time, the weight gain continued and would stick with me throughout all the ups and downs of my adolescence. Every day I made sure my growing bulges were covered by my sister’s hand-me-downs. Having weight issues through my teenage years made my self-esteem waver on a daily basis, especially when all I wanted was to fit in.

All the while, I felt like I couldn’t complain. I kept telling myself how cool it was to be related to someone who was so well-liked, smart and popular. “I should be grateful” was something I frequently reminded myself.  As time went on, I realized that my own identity was starting to get lost amongst the crowd.

“My life is so much happier and fulfilling now.”

Little by little, I started to come into my own. I discarded the hand-me-downs and wore clothes that reflected who I was as a person.  I attended a university where no one knew me, giving me a fresh start and a chance to reconnect with my own identity. I found love on my own terms and found someone who loved me no matter what the scale said. After all of this, I finally got in the right mindset to look deeper into my issues and come out on the other side. As a result, I lost 60 pounds and overcame fatty liver. My life is so much happier and fulfilling now.

Had I not taken the steps I did, I would still be in my sister’s shadow and living a very different life.

Being grateful is a valuable trait. It means we appreciate what we have and reminds us not to take the important things in life for granted. That being said, “being grateful” can foster a limiting mindset and prevent us from making the changes we need to live the life we want.

Here are 4 reasons why:


Keeps you “complacent”

With life, all you have to work with is the dice you were dealt and whatever you have to work with. So then of course we’re appreciative of having a job that pays the bills, a roof over our heads, food on the table and a somewhat normal life. These are the essentials we all need to have to survive in this world. But what if you wanted more? A better paying job, a bigger place in a safer neighborhood, the ability to afford healthy food, a schedule that allows you to fit in your own self-care and freedom to go out to eat and relax once in a while?

Moving on up involves change, something most of us don’t take kindly to. Change means risking the things that are going well for us and in the process, possibly losing everything that matters most.  To protect ourselves and minimize damage, we clam up and avoid any action that would change our current situation. This is when complacency and stagnation creeps in and traps us in our own version of “Groundhog’s Day”. Great for low risk takers but terrible for those of us looking to change our fates.


Prevents you from thinking outside of the box

As I mention above, change is scary. Its easier to retreat to our little box than to charge forth to the unknown with our pride and self-confidence on the line.

You know what’s not in your little box? The possibility to make a change for the better, the opportunity to reach your goals and the freedom to voice your needs and your wants.  Imagine being able to inquire to your boss about that promotion or finally asking for that free health assessment from a personal trainer because you’re tired of feeling sorry for yourself. Yes, there’s a 50% possibility that things may not go your way, but there’s a 50% chance that they will.

The probability of opening new doors and realizing your dreams while you stay inside your little box is always zero.


Puts you in the hands of society and fear looking “ungrateful”

We live in a society and culture where we WANT to think things are black and white and clear cut. Many of us fear the consequences of coloring outside the lines and challenging boundaries. We fear “wanting” because we don’t want to seem selfish, self-centered and “ungrateful”. While this way of thinking is suppose to steer us away from becoming “bad people”, it only fosters fear, distress and guilt.

The truth is we live in a world of gray where we can straddle the lines however way we want. You can aspire to big goals while full-heartedly loving the life you already have. You can be a healthy person but not look like the models on TV. You can be ambitious and be a good person at the same time. As long as you are grounded in your truth, you have nothing to be afraid of.


Holds you back from your full potential

Its all about mindset. If you feel worthy of achieving big goals like losing 50 pounds or getting higher pay, then you’re going to do whatever is necessary to make that a reality. If you’re still feeling trapped, weighed down and waiting for that breakthrough then your desires and dreams will remain intangible. This all boils down to having the confidence in your own abilities and knowing that you deserve a happy and wonderful life, whatever that may look like. The power is in your hands.

Take “being grateful” for what it truly is: an opportunity to acknowledge and treasure everything great in our lives. Its something we should all do to keep us grounded and keep us connected to who we are at our core. The moment you use “being grateful” to hide from the things you want to change, then its no longer an opportunity. Its a closed door.

What are you going to do today to achieve the life you deserve? Leave comments below!

Amy Lanci is a certified holistic health coach who helps busy and guilt-driven women to lose their first 10 pounds by focusing on their emotional eating and mindset. Read more about Amy at http://www.thevitalitygeek.com

This is an updated version of this article. 

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