Feeling Deprived? Try This.

Sometimes we just can’t help it. Everyone around us is munching on cake or cookies or our favorite panini. We can’t have those things. We feel deprived.

I can remember standing in the middle of the cracker aisle of a rural grocery store pouting because I just wanted a cracker to eat with some cheese. I’m sure everyone in the store could see my turned down lip. Now this might have been cute if I had been 3. I was 46. But at that moment, I just couldn’t help it.

There was no amount of intellectual reasoning that could counteract this feeling. I managed to hold it together and leave the crackers on the shelf, but that didn’t make me feel any better in that moment. In fact, if I were guessing, I’d guess I moved out of feeling deprived by feeling angry. This was my default for pulling myself out of a funk – fight. But who wants to fight all the time? It just makes you tired.

So how could I counteract feeling deprived without getting fighting mad? 

The answer is simple although my path to discovering it has been circuitous and lengthy. Practice gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is slightly different from feeling grateful. It is deliberate act. In fact, when you begin, you may not feel grateful at all. When I decided to try this practice, my goal was to write down 5 things for which I was grateful each morning. I still felt angry. My list might look like: 1)The sun shining through the window. 2)I remembered to water the plants so they aren’t dead. 3)I have clean underwear in my drawer. 4)My bright colored boots. 5)That my stupid car is still running even though it’s old and dirty and I’d rather have a new one.

Boots

Some days I would sit for 15 or 20 minutes trying to come up with five things. Eventually, I learned that I could be sincerely grateful for those things about which I felt angry, annoyed, sad, or afraid. My lists began to include things like: 1)I had a chance to eat yogurt for breakfast because it always makes my tummy feel better than eating a GF bagel. 2)My friend didn’t call as promised because this gives me a chance to recognize that I feel afraid when someone is undependable. I know this is a chance to heal and grow. 3)My air conditioner failed because even though it may be a struggle to pay for a replacement, it allowed me to discover the water leak that was feeding toxic mold. 4)My heart feels broken by the loss of a loved one because it means my heart is intact, and I am able to bond. 5)I noticed the gorgeous sunrise this morning when I had to get up early.

Then, another shift took place. I learned that any time I am feeling vulnerable, inadequate, scared, angry, or deprived an immediate verbal recitation of gratitude anchors me so that I can show up in the moment. Sometimes I recite these lists in my head. I say them rapid fire and they look like: The budding green trees, that gorgeous tulip I see outside, it’s cool in the room, I remembered the sample for this meeting, my clothes feel like pjs, this is my only meeting today, this coffee is good, I can go home early.

As your practice grows, you may begin to feel unanticipated emotions emerging related to your lists. When you think about it, this makes sense. After all, as you rumble around your internal being searching for gratitude, you’re creating a connection to your core. Continuing the practice strengthens that connection and declutters the pathway to embracing your personal power. For some of us, this is a bumpy road that can feel like slogging through mud, then sliding easily followed by a need to serpentine through a minefield. The good news is that gratitude supports an openness that allows us to recognize, embrace, and full receive encouragement, affection, assistance, and love along the way. Over time, this results in a more full life with deeper connections and the courage to receive an abundance of love. In such an environment, feeling deprived can’t last long!

Do you practice gratitude? How does it help you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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