The Finding Joy series is based on the 8 pillars of joy outlined in The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and The Dalai Lama. Gratitude is the 2nd pillar of the heart. So much has been documented about the benefits of gratitude, so I wanted to take a different approach to this important pillar.
Take away #1
When you practice being grateful for what you have each day, you are combatting the negativity bias in your own brain.
Take away #2
When you allow yourself to receive gratitude from others, you allow others to positively influence who you believe you are. The more favorably you view yourself, the more you will allow yourself to be flexible, take chances, speak up, connect with others – GROW in so many ways.
Your weekly Challenge
Every day this week, write down 3 things you are grateful for. Don’t repeat anything. After day 2 or 3, it might be hard to find something, and that’s a good thing! It will force your brain to begin looking beyond the normal things. After you write down what you’re grateful for, sit still for 5 minutes and allow your body to feel the gratitude. Be very aware of what gratitude feels like in your body.
Are you the parent of a young adult? Were you surprised when you got to this stage of life that it’s harder to be the parent of a young adult than the parent of a teenager? I sure was. Here’s the thing – you can’t parent your young adult the same way your parents did. If you try to do that, you could do some real damage to your relationship with them.
If this is you, I have a free training for you:
“10 Important Tips to Improve Your Relationship with Your Young Adult.”
Click here to download your free copy
You’ll be surprised at some of these tips, and you’ll feel like you finally have a road map to navigate this tricky time in your life and your child’s life.
Welcome back to the podcast friends. Today’s topic in the finding joy series is gratitude. This is one of the pillars of the heart.
So much has been written and documented on the benefits of gratitude. In fact, it doesn’t take much of a Google search to go find so many ways that gratitude is something that we should be incorporating into our lives every single day. There’s benefits psychologically and emotionally and relationally. And physically. And it just so much documentation on how important gratitude is for us. And so I won’t be focusing on that today. Because you can just go do a simple Google search, super easy to do. I want to give you a different perspective.
My name is Tina Gosney. I’m a relationship coach, I work specifically with family relationships, because I think they are so incredibly important to us in our lives. And so I want to give you a different perspective on gratitude.
Now, let’s just review what we’re doing in this finding joy series. This is based on the eight pillars of joy written by the Dalai Lama, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu called The Book of Joy. And you’ll find the eight pillars there.
The first four pillars, which I’ve already covered, are the pillars of the mind, perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. You know, those are very interesting words, very interesting pillars. Because we find these things are challenges to our brain, the way that our brain wants to think and interpret the world around us. And those are important things that we need to challenge our thinking on. I don’t think we very often challenge the thoughts that we have in our brain, we just take them as true. We take them as given that that’s the way the world is. But it’s actually not it’s we only see things according to who we are, not the way that the world is, because every single person sees the world differently. But when we can gain perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance, those are the building blocks of finding joy within our minds with that within the limitations and the realm of our thoughts.
But there is much more to us and our thinking brains. That’s why I like where they focus on the next four pillars, which are the pillars of the heart. And we in this country, in this culture, we just love to ignore and shame our bodies, if we’re not shaming them with them, we’re just ignoring them.
We have so much body shame. And so paying attention to our emotions, paying attention to what our body is trying to tell us. It’s not something that we do, it’s not something that we have been taught to do. It’s not something that we can even consider often unless somebody mentions it like you’re listening to this podcast. But we incorporate our brain and our body, our emotions. And that is powerful.
Do you know how much your brain loves body learning? It’s amazing how much your brain loves body learning. If you have been leaning into this coaching or self-help world for a while now. And you’re having trouble still incorporating things that are happening, there are things that are you’re learning into your life, I want you to consider that there’s a possibility you haven’t done the body learning that you need to do. And that may be paying attention to your body and your emotions can be the thing that shifts that for you.
And these pillars of the heart that we go over in this book are forgiveness which I covered last week, gratitude, which will be today. And then the next two weeks we’ll do compassion and generosity. These are feelings that are felt inside of our bodies and our bodies are amazing tools. They are the walking hard drive of our life. It stores everything that happens to us.
Do you know you can’t remember, you have many, many unconscious memories, your brain cannot store all of your memories in your conscious brain? But your body remembers everything that has happened to you. Even before you had language skills, when you were in utero, or you were a small child, and you didn’t have language skills, your body remembers what happened to you.
And this is detailed in the book, The Body Keeps the Score. Have you ever found yourself reacting to something in a way that doesn’t make sense? It could be, there’s a possibility that your body remembers something that your brain doesn’t. And it is a stored protection, trying to keep you safe.
Anytime you’re trying to change something in your life, just by the way that you’re thinking, and you’re not paying attention to how your body is feeling. And the emotions that are found there, that change is going to be short lived. Because our emotions are truth tellers. They’re like sirens going off in our body. They’re important. And like I said before, we have so many hang ups in this country, about our bodies. So we don’t often feel that it’s safe to drop down into them and learn from them. And instead, we just push our emotions away. And we are very good at numbing them early, we have so many numbing devices at our fingertips. So many options to just tune out and ignore the uncomfortable emotions that we don’t want to feel. And then sometimes we just act them out.
And I want you to consider that being at one with your body is important. So many of us don’t have any clue what that looks like.
It’s been getting warmer lately. Isn’t that nice. And my husband and I have been out riding our bikes quite a bit. We live in a newer neighborhood where there’s a lot of construction going on, and there’s often quite some debris in the road. I thought this is so interesting that the other day that we’re riding our bikes, and I know this has happened to me so many times, I haven’t really thought about it in the way that I was thinking about it the other day, there was kind of a big rock in the road. And I knew that if I wrote over it, I was probably going to pop my tire. And I was thinking don’t run over that rock, avoid that rock. And it was like I steered right into the rock. And at the last minute, I had to swerve to miss it. And I almost fell over. And I was looking at that rock and there was so much clear space around that one rock. But I was so focused on that rock, it was like, I almost couldn’t miss it.
And this is what our brains do. Right? Whatever we focus on, that is going to get bigger. And it happened for me when I was trying to not hit the rock. And I was saying to myself, don’t hit the rock don’t hit the rock. Our human brains are not capable of consciously eliminating thoughts that we don’t want.
A classic example that you might hear a lot of times is, hey, don’t think about a pink elephant. And as soon as you tell yourself to not think about something, that thought is the biggest one inside your brain, and your brain hones in on it, and it focuses right on it. The same things happens to us when we have circumstances in our life that we don’t like. And we’re trying to avoid them. Whatever we focus on, that will get bigger in our life. We literally can’t take in everything around us. Because there’s just literally too much for our brains to take in.
So our brain will decide for us what it wants us to see. And because of evolution, because of this really, really old primitive brain that we have, our brain will default to the negative, because that’s what keeps us alive. If we focus on the negative, that keeps us alive longer.
If we let our brain go unchecked, we’re going to just focus on negative we’re going to see more negative, we’re going to see the lack in our lives, we will see the things that we don’t like the things that are that our brain considers to be dangerous because it keeps us alive longer. This creates scarcity in our lives. And then we begin to tell ourselves stories about these things. And we believe the thoughts that our brain tells us, we begin to tell ourselves a story about how we don’t have enough how things are not working out well how so and so treated us badly.
We just tell stories that often will keep us in a victim position or having scarcity or some type of negative thing going on in our life? Do you let your brain just do this? Because that’s what it will do. If we don’t keep it in check, this is what it will do. This is just letting your life happen to you. The flip side, you can create a life on purpose. But to do that, we need to specifically direct our brain to what we want our brains to see.
Unless how does this apply to gratitude, and to think about how really abundantly blessed we are in this country? Do we allow ourselves to see the abundance in our own lives.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been re listening to a course I took a couple of years ago from Thomas McConkie, called Transformations of Faith. And he was talking about energy centers. And these energy centers are things that are created in us in a very, very young age. And then we spend the rest of our lives reacting to these energy centers. And one of the energy centers that he mentioned was that of needing safety and security.
And if you know, like the hierarchy of needs, you know that safety and security is important. And if we have felt deprived of safety and security at some time in our life, which everybody has, then we develop an energy center around it, and we live the rest of our life, reacting to that energy center. It’s this mentality of I don’t have enough.
It’s this mentality of looking around us and seeing the things that we don’t have in our life, the scarcity, the lack, and the grasp, be neediness to get more to fill that void, with more stuff, with more money, with more achievements, with more praise from other people, we will always be wanting more if we’re feeding this energy center. And the thing is about this energy center, it’s like, you know, it’s like if you had a mosquito bite, or an ant bite that just itches so bad, and you just scratch it, thinking, “Oh, this will give me relief, if I just scratch this.”
And for a moment, you have relief. And then that just gets a bigger than itch gets bigger. The urge to itch gets bigger, and it’s more painful. And this is what the energy centers are like this energy center of scarcity of I don’t have enough of I need to fill this void. Every time we give it and feed that part of us, we are actually making that energy center stronger. It’s like pouring water into a bucket that has a hole in the bottom, we’ll never be able to fill that bucket.
Because we’re not actually giving ourselves what we need. When we are living into this scarcity, when we are allowing our brains to go unchecked and focus on the negative and the scarcity and the comparison of I don’t have this and somebody else does. And it directly feeds into our human need for safety and security. So it’s giving yourself more stuff.
Focusing on that scarcity, and trying to fill it is making that energy center stronger. It is like scratching that mosquito bite or that ant bite.
Another way that we don’t move into gratitude in our life is we don’t allow ourselves to receive gratitude from others. We often have these ideas of our own feelings of our own insecurities and and how we’re not good enough. And so someone gives us a compliment or someone expresses gratitude to us. And what do we do? We say oh is nothing Oh, don’t bother. No, it’s okay. You don’t need to. It was nothing. It really wasn’t that great anyway, and we brush it off. It’s like we have this Teflon exterior.
What does that do when someone wants to give us gratitude, wants to give us a compliment to say thank you for something and we brush it off. Well, first of all, it invalidates another person’s experience of you, which is unkind to that person. It’s like saying like you don’t really know what you’re talking about. You saw this differently than it actually was. You’re not seeing things the way that they really are. And so you don’t really know that creates disconnection in a relationship.
Another thing that it does is you when you don’t allow yourself to receive from another person, you are reinforcing a crappy story to yourself of who you are. You’re giving your brain more evidence that, yep, you don’t deserve thanks. You don’t deserve gratitude, you don’t deserve compliments, because that’s just not who you are.
Well, if you remember the episodes on the pyramid of influence that I did with Brent Bartel at the end of last year, one of the ways to influence other people, is to allow them to influence you first. And this is one of the ways that we do that. We accept someone’s thinks we accept someone’s gratitude. And we just let it be without trying to discount it in some way. And when we can allow them to influence us, they then will be more open to the influence that we want to extend to them.
So allowing someone else to influence you, is a way of receiving gratitude. So then how do we use gratitude in our lives? Well, like I said, there’s so many ways on Google that will tell you how to use gratitude in your lives,
I want you to think about having a gratitude practice that focuses on what you have, instead of what you don’t have. It’s the abundance, purposefully directing your brain every single day, to say, look at the abundance in my life. This is important for me to see this abundance, I need to show my brain on purpose, the many blessings and abundance that I have in my life. And I want you to remember where you put your focus, what you put your focus on, you create more of.
So with my bike story, when I was like I had to swerve at the last minute to avoid the rock to pop my tire. What if I, instead of saying don’t look at the rock, don’t look at the rock. What instead, if I had said, hey, just focus on the road, focus on the road, the rock is there. But you don’t need to look at it, it’s not important focus on the road, your eyes will take you right in the path that you need to be. That would have made things so much easier. And actually, I have done that, since this rock bike incident, I have actually done that. And I don’t have to swerve with the last minute, I’m not gonna pop my tire. And I’m actually focusing on the way I want to go. It’s not that I don’t know that the rock is there, right? But I’m not focused on it. And it’s not becoming an obstacle for me.
I’m actually focusing on creating on purpose, the thing that I want to create, and this is what happens when you implement a gratitude practice on purpose in your life, you begin to notice the things that you want in your life, the things that you have the things that you’re working towards, instead of noticing the lack, you’re noticing the abundance?
How do you do this? How do you not scratch the mosquito bite and play into the energy center of lack of safety and security?
Well, first of all, you want to notice that this is what’s happening for you that I’m trying to get more and more and more, and I don’t ever really feel satisfied. First of all, we’re just noticing, we’re not judging. We’re being mindful in the moment, have a look, this is what my brain is trying to tell me right now. And we’re not judging what your brain is doing. We’re just noticing. And we’re noticing what’s happening inside your body. We’re noticing the discomfort of wanting more, and then we don’t feed it. We say I’m not going to feed into that right now. Because that is not really what I need. What I really need is to see what I already have. And we have to sit with the discomfort of not scratching that itch. And that discomfort is what allows that energy center to begin to heal. But we can’t do that unless we incorporate the body with the brain.
How do we allow the discomfort of receiving gratitude from someone when you don’t feel like you deserve it or when it feels uncomfortable to receive gratitude because we just haven’t been doing it. Again, just observe what is happening in your body. Be curious about it. Just say to yourself, I notice, it’s very hard for me to receive this gratitude right now. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just not practiced at it. I can say thank you to this other person for the compliment that they’ve given me or the gratitude that they’ve given me.
And then I can deal with the discomfort in my own body of letting it sit there and not trying to push it away.
The more times that we do this, the more practice that we get at it, the better that we get at it. And at first, it is very uncomfortable both of these things, right, not scratching the edge of wanting to give ourselves more, not scratching the itch of pushing away compliments and gratitude. It can feel very uncomfortable, like we’re putting on someone else’s clothes. But the thing is, the more we practice this, the less uncomfortable it gets. And the more we begin to live into gratitude. And remember this gratitude is part of what creates joy.
This is incorporating the mind with the body is allowing ourselves to sit in the discomfort of receiving, giving and receiving gratitude.
What are our takeaways for today?
Well, when you begin to practice being grateful, on purpose, every single day for what you have, you are combating the negativity bias in your own brain.
When you allow yourself to receive gratitude from others, you allow others to positively influence who you are. And then as you do that, the more favorable view of yourself begins to grow. The more you can have a favorable view of yourself and feel grounded in who you are. These things start to grow also, you allow yourself to be flexible, you begin to take chances, you open yourself up to a little bit more vulnerability, you begin to speak up about what’s true for you, you have an easier time connecting with others. You can grow in so many ways once you start to have a more favorable view of yourself. And know that you can handle the hard emotions that will come.
What’s our challenge for this week?
Every day this week, write down three things that you’re grateful for. Don’t repeat anything, anytime, after day two or three, it might be hard, because you’ve gotten through the usuals. And it will force your brain to begin looking beyond the usual normal things. But after you write down what you’re grateful for, sit still for five minutes, and allow your body to feel the gratitude. Just drop into your body. Be aware of what gratitude feels like inside your own body. When we connect our thoughts in our brains to the emotions in our bodies, we integrate the body and the mind and then it becomes part of who we are at our core level, you’ll begin to see the abundance in our lives is an integral part of experiencing joy.
And remember, your brain loves body learning. So let it be about your body this week. Move into your body. Allow yourself to learn from this magnificent body that you are blessed with.
Have a great week, and I will see you next time for compassion.
Are you the parent of a young adult? Were you surprised when you got to this stage of life that it’s harder to be the parent of a young adult than the parent of a teenager? Well, I sure it was. And here’s the thing, you can’t parent your young adult the same way that your parents did you. They’re not living in the same world that we did when we were their age. And if you try to do that you could do some real damage to your relationship with them.
I have a free training for you. It’s called the 10 important tips to improve your relationship with your young adults. You’re going to be surprised at some of these tips and it’s totally free. There’s a link in the show notes to download. You can also go to Tina gosney.com and click on the free training tab on the top of the homepage. Many people have already downloaded this free training and are so thankful that they did so go get yours today.