Why Gratitude Doesn’t Work

I know that I’m going to get a lot of comments from people telling me that yes, gratitude does work. I’m happy for them if gratitude works for them, but if they think that “practicing” gratitude will work for everyone, then they don’t understand that there is another category of person out there. In fact, I’m surprised that psychologists don’t seem to have written about this. At least I’ve never seen it.

There is a different category of people out there who are grateful and still depressed. I’m no psychologist, but the way it feels to me is that I don’t deserve this blessed life that so many are denied. When I look at my failings, they overwhelm me. Yes, I’m grateful for my job, and also I hate myself for not being able to find the motivation to do it today. Yes, I’m grateful for my family and friends. I understand what a blessing they are so deeply that the fear of losing them is stronger than the feeling of gratitude for them.

There is a category of people who need to hear over and over that it’s okay that the popular gratitude journals don’t work for them. So what if they need to hear that the way they are is okay instead of hearing that they need to be grateful? Do we want people to be happy or do we only want them to be grateful and shut up?

I guess this should be called “Why Gratitude Doesn’t Work for Everyone.” I’m sure a lot of people are helped by slowing down and focusing on what they’re grateful for. But we’re all different. Are you like me? Then let me say what I think we need to hear. It’s okay to accept the blessings that God gave to you. He gave them to you for a reason, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. When you can help others, do! But the fate of 7 billion people is not on your shoulders. God made you the way you are for a reason, and there’s no cookie cutter approach to a better life. Open up your Bible and you’ll see instructions to give thanks, but you’ll see other instructions, too, like to cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Maybe you need that one every day. It’s okay.

Mostly I don’t want you (or me) to see all the many blogs and books and talk shows about gratitude and infer that if you’re not content it’s because you’re not practicing gratitude. (You ungrateful sons of …!)

Also, you’re not alone 🙂