Boundaries in Gratitude

Posted by Alina Liao on

I've been meditating on gratitude this month, and one prompt for self-care journaling that came to me earlier was, 

"I'm grateful for... but I don't have to be grateful for..."

One thing that often comes up with gratitude is looking back and being grateful for the challenges we faced. At the time, they were painful. But, if we grew from them and gained something positive out of them, we want to practice gratitude for the experience.

Something about that narrative wasn't sitting quite right with me though, especially when I thought back to certain traumas.

I journaled to this prompt in our Mini-Retreat last week, Journal for Gratitude. What came out in my custom wellness journal was, 

"I'm grateful for the deeper understanding I have of what it feels like to be depressed. I'm grateful to be able to relate and empathize better with others who have been betrayed, manipulated, gaslighted, damaged. I'm grateful for my ability to sit with pain. I'm grateful that I can now talk while crying. I'm grateful for the deep well of love and compassion I have discovered - uncovered - in me through my healing. I'm grateful for the deeper bonds I built by opening myself up to be vulnerable and seek and receive support from others. I'm grateful for the wisdom I've gained from my healing work...

...But I don't have to be grateful for you."

Now, maybe some will say, if that's how I feel, I still have healing work to do. What I will say truthfully is that, at least now, it feels right to draw that boundary in my gratitude. I need to be able to draw a line and name that the harm someone caused me was not OK, and I don't have to be grateful for it to be grateful for all the positive, beautiful things that came out of my healing from the harm.

This is not something I'm claiming as the right way to practice gratitude. It's something that I feel is true for me now, so I wanted to put it out there for you to ponder, too. I'm curious what you think? Feel welcome to try the prompt out and share your experience with me if you like.

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