Got Gratitude? Thanks!


A God In Therapy Post

In our first gratitude post in awhile. we explored one of the difficulties with general gratitude. C.R., Sarah, and Lea agreed: if there’s no one you’re grateful to, perhaps gratitude is an emotion that can’t be fully experienced.

But what about the whole gratitude journal, affirmation, thing as a whole? Does that really make people happier? Is it worth trying?

Sarah: To me, it’s important to be thankful and remember where I came from. Yes it’s worth trying, especially if you’re not in the habit.

Lea: I think it’s like if you have no experience with gratitude then a gratitude journal or something like that can’t hurt. But this whole trend of endless gratitude feels shallow to me.

C.R.: Confession: I actually have kept a gratitude journal and still do it on and off. But the truth is that even after a few days I realized that it did get a bit shallow.

I began to fell it was more important to reframe things I perceived as negative and say thank you to God for them, even if I had no way to understand why they were happening. Of course, this comes from my Jewish faith, so I can’t say I would have stumbled upon this on my own.

Sarah: Did you read it in Garden of Emuna?

C.R.: I think I knew this before I read the book, but that book really hit home for me. It was such a simple, unpretentious, heartfelt book and it gave me the impetus to throw away any sophisticated thinking and trade it in for a dose of simplicity, including emotional simplicity. It was a relief to be able to say: I do not know. I don’t understand.

But I believe that ultimately, everything is for the good. Lea: I got that too. It helped me stop fighting against overwhelming obstacles and just accept that this was my reality.

C.R. Yes, it teaches you how to have emuna, faith, and cultivate a deep, loving belief in God which does translate into a greater feeling of gratitude. In the years since I first read it*, I’ve seen it inspire people with all kinds of challenges, from grief and loss, to anger issues to mental illness.

I’ve also had feedback that it’s helped people struggling with addiction. But obviously, the reader has to be motivated and willing to commit to the recommendations, no matter how hard they feel at the time.

Sarah: I’m not sure that the Garden of Emuna taught me gratitude but I did read it. I think it taught me to feel loved and to value myself. To feel amazement at me being this incredible creation of a soul and a body. To be alive!

C.R. Kind of sounds like you’re thankful for life…

*I read the Jewish version first in 2010 (I think, I can’t really remember which year), and then later, the Universal version because I wanted to get it for a friend and felt I should read it first.  


Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is an internationally licensed psychotherapist and addiction specialist with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. Learn more about Richard here.Like this author?

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