The Complex Relationship Between Gratitude and Authenticity in Modern Life

November 21, 2023

In today's fast-paced society, I often find myself reflecting on the complexities of modern existence. Rather than claiming expertise, I offer observations as an individual who interacts with people, not just as a coach.

What I witness is a collective pursuit of survival in a seemingly insane world.

An acquaintance who survived cancer diagnosis swears by the power of gratitude, a sentiment echoed by positive and grateful individuals I've lost to the same illness. These people believed deeply in something, a force that fueled their thankfulness and presence. It didn't provide an answer to their issue the same way it had for others. They did try their best nevertheless.

Currently on a spiritual journey myself, I find solace in gratitude for my blessings  — a roof over my head, warmth, quality food, and more. Yet, the view from my window unveils a stark reality: a woman battling alcoholism living nearby, a man consumed by his phone, chain smoking on his terrace and others struggling in sessions. The world, I believe, is a constant battle of sorts, but my gratitude shields me from admitting this truth to the fullest.

This prompts me to question the honesty in our personal journeys.

Can we truly experience catharsis without delving into the depths of misery? Is focusing solely on gratitude conducive to becoming better individuals?

The delicate balance between gratitude and confronting our darker emotions is crucial. It's a fine line between improvement and acknowledging our shadows. The distorted realism between Instagram and the winter chill on the real streets of our towns is a challenge I grapple with, offering questions instead of easy answers.

In a world where connection is paramount and where most of us feel lack of acceptance, gratitude can become another expectation of perfection. While I am genuinely grateful, I question whether it's a prerequisite for leading a meaningful life. Even gratitude can turn against its owner.

Let's embrace our flaws and humanity, recognizing that gratitude is not an external expectation but an inner state that we may or may not choose at various points in our lives. How many hide behind gratitude to avoid facing their true selves and reality?

As Thanksgiving approaches, I propose the radical idea of allowing ourselves to feel anger, discontent, unproductivity, and loss. This is not a personal confession but a recognition of the negative impact of imposed gratitude, especially on high-performers.

Dear reader, high-performer, or anyone striving for a meaningful life—embrace your imperfections. Life is about experience, and the messy, unappreciated, judged parts of yourself are just as valuable. You don't need to be perfect; you have the power of free will to live life on your terms.

In the spirit of non-professional authenticity,

Valentina Dolmova

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