Hashtag Gratitude

Melbourne

I am so grateful for all my material possessions and the relationships I cultivate to prop up my fragile ego. Hello! The Little Heroine, she is negative. Danger! Danger! My doctor accused me of being bipolar. I will acknowledge that I do have generalized anxiety. Good job Doc, I mean, he just wouldn’t buy that I am psychic. We are all entitled to our opinions. Definitely, by suggesting that the anxiety is masking something deeper, got me into a spin about, well, myself. Cause it always comes back to you baby. Reader (singular cause I am sure there is only one person who reads this) feedback “you can come across as self pitying”. I know. I do pity myself. The sky is blue. What else is up? My defenses? Always.

I’m on my fiction ban, I’ve been reading about the Gulag (Russian prison camps). If there is one thing that will always make you feel gratitude it is the suffering of others. So, in this culture where we are being shoved gratitude and positivity where is the space to work on the ugly side of our own humanity? I find it hypocritical to focus purely on gratitude, maybe it is too much on the line of ‘positive reinforcement’ and culturally I don’t believe in that. If you are not being criticized then you’re doing just fine Little Heroine. I will concede I do believe in gratitude but is it enough to combat say, greed? I think the theory goes that as we practice gratitude we are supposed to develope a natural inclination towards kindness or receptivity to helping others. The feel good nature of gratitude is, from what I gather, the thing that makes you want to do more good things. Altruism is only real for Christ babes. But people are more complex than that, you can be kind and greedy too. I don’t think those two examples are mutually exclusive. I am suggesting cultivating your weakness into strength because it takes more patience and time to turn your greed into kindness if greed is your natural state. You will spend your whole life trying not to be your weakness. Otherwise, it would be enough to just be kind in this world.

My mother once told me that you do not build a team based on its strength; you build a team based on its weakness. You want to find a fault line in your team, look for the weakness. Making something already strong even stronger doesn’t warrant as much applause as making something weak, stronger. I think I finally just understood why my family is so critical. Praise is like candy! Makes you fat.

It’s Lent and as a good Christian soldier, I am going deep religious again. We Catholics love humility. I think it’s because we have a wrathful and vengeful God so doctrine says “be grateful for suffering”.

In your actions, if you show greed, if you show arrogance, if you show pride, if you show tyranny, gratitude is not going to fix any of these things. So as we practice gratitude, are we looking away from the negative aspects of our character to avoid responsibility? At my most cynical, I am looking at gratitude as the new humble brag. I came out of this work environment where gratitude was shoved down our throats as a cure-all for entitlement, selfishness and other negative attributes they didn’t want to see within the business. Babe, this is still capitalism so I don’t actually buy that the business model is built on ‘growing people’. Again, you are not running a charity. And if you want to look a bit closer, exploitation is still the name of the game. Selling “look good, feel good” preys on the vulnerable. Tell me again, how women who are filling their faces with botox to feel better and more confident don’t need therapy. I’m insecure too but maybe I am being unfair and privileged because my genetics are more favourable than most. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so who do you want to be looking at you for that external validation my love? Please like me on Instagram. It’s my only measure of my worth.

Gratitude to cure character is like yoga to cure anxiety. I just cannot stomach it as a real answer. It’s the Russian prison book, I swear. In the tundra you are grateful that you get water. Today, we are grateful..What? That our philandering husband buys a tennis bracelet? Therein lies the difference; there is gratitude that alleviates suffering. There is gratitude that is for blessings. Guess, the reprise of suffering is a blessing. May you be grateful for your suffering.

So like back to me babe, I am not suffering. Again, keep your perspective relative. Old trick, keeps the wolves at bay. But also fuck you and all the gratitude. This feels a lot like when people appropriate Buddhism, you’re not looking for nirvana doll, not if you don’t understand shit. Yes, it is taking a step forward but really the best growth, the painful kind, the good kind, the remaining kind, I suspect is finding your weakness and cultivating that into a strength and fuck you, gratitude isn’t going to be enough. Be less of a cunt. Wow, this got personal didn’t it.

Always, the little ingrate.

SJ xx

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