Before you complain about school, remember that some people can’t even get an education.
Before you complain about getting fat, remember some people don’t even have any food.
Before you complain about your job, remember some people don’t even have any money.
Before you complain about cleaning the house, remember some people don’t even have any shelter.
Before you complain about washing the dishes, remember some people don’t even have any water.
Before you complain about all these things on social media using your smartphone, without any consideration for how blessed you are, be thankful for a minute.
Above is a quote from the opening of Vex King’s chapter on gratitude in his book Good Vibes, Good Life (King, 2018, p.49-50). I could not disagree with the above sentiment more if I tried and in this blog I will explain the three main reasons for that.
But before I do that, I’d like to express that generally I do love the book. I also love what Vex King goes on to say about gratitude later in the chapter. That it is a simple, yet powerful exercise (Good Vibes, Good Life, King, 2018, p.50).
I am a huge fan of gratitude as a practice.
It really can be a complete game-changer when practiced regularly. I go into more detail of how you can create an attitude of gratitude in a previous blog, and every evening in my free Facebook community, LEMONADE, I share a gratitude practice.
But I do hugely object to King’s opener on gratitude and here is why:
1. My happiness does not depend on others unhappiness
Reading the above statements, all of them follow the same pattern: Don’t complain about X in your life because some folks don’t have it. Now in many cases this is true. Sadly, we live in a world where there are people who live without water, without food, money, shelter. This is awful and certainly not something I am grateful for. I, therefore, don’t want my happiness to rely on the fact that other people are worse off!
As female entrepreneurs it can be a constant battle to not compare ourselves to others who appear to be more successful than we are – I know this is something I have really struggled with – so why on early would we show the same destructive behaviour but in the opposite direction?
The fact is our problems are all relative and personal to us.
Just because someone else has more washing piled up than me, doesn’t make me feel any more enthused about the mound that’s never ending for me! Just because there is poverty in the world doesn’t mean the cost of living crisis doesn’t affect me and being grateful for that doesn’t get the bills paid!
What will make a difference, when it comes to gratitude is learning to be content with what you have and trusting that more is coming, if that’s what you want. Which leads me to point two…
2. It’s okay to want more than you currently have
I’d be lying if I told you I am 100% happy with where my business is right now. I want my business to make more money, I want to welcome more people into my membership. That doesn’t mean I am not grateful for having a business!
You can absolutely be grateful for where you are while expressing a desire for more. What won’t help you, is getting stuck in a ‘I need…’ hole. Again, check out my Attitude of Gratitude post for more details.
3. Damaging beliefs can form
I’d say this one is the most serious. How many of us grew up hearing ‘Eat up, there are people that are starving’? This rhetoric can cause serious issues. As someone who suffered with an eating disorder for a long time I am acutely aware of how what we say about food can affect our belief system. Someone who believes they must finish everything on their plate and be grateful for that (which I am aware isn’t exactly what Vex is saying or do I think actually implying but it’s close!) could go on to have disordered eating.
The same is true regarding money, in particular. Damaging rhetoric, leads to damaging limiting beliefs. I share more about limiting beliefs around money here.
So, do I think you shouldn’t read Good Vibes, Good Life? Absolutely not! It’s a good book with a great message, just skip the opener to the gratitude chapter.
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