*Originally published 6/16/2014
Recently I had a conversation with my therapist about how grateful I am that I managed to get through the death of my father without getting depressed. I told him how blessed I felt to have the tools now to be able to get through even the most awful situations without it leading to depression, like so many things used to in my past.
He basically shook his head and said (I’m paraphrasing here), “Are you fucking kidding me! Blessed? Nothing fell from the sky and landed in your hands. You worked your ass off to get here. It’s not a blessing, YOU did this!”
He’s right. Ever since that conversation I’ve been really looking at all the times and places where I’ve offered my appreciation by saying how blessed I felt.
That came from a conscious effort to not say “lucky”. Luck is picking the winning lottery numbers or getting out of a speeding ticket. So when good things happen I don’t want to say that it is luck when I know that it’s not.
Instead, I’ve made a conscious effort to recognize the blessings in my life and take the time to appreciate them. But now I see that in doing so I’ve taken some of my own power away. I’ve been sending myself subliminal messages that the good things in my life are blessings, as if I had nothing to do with them. And that simply isn’t true.
That’s not to say that I’m not blessed in many ways. But many of the things that I try to take note of are things that I have created for myself.
I see now that I have been mixing up gratitude and blessings. Experiencing the result of hard work- that is not a blessing- that is an accomplishment. The feeling of gratitude- that is a blessing, a blessing that we all have within us somwhere. The subject of gratitude may not be.
In this case being able to weather a storm is a huge accomplishment for me. And something to be very grateful for… and proud of!
I’ve had a lot of trouble throughout my life with follow-through and finishing what I start. But the fact is, and what I am now realizing is, that I don’t have as much trouble as I thought. When I look at my accomplishments as blessings I subliminally support my old school of thought that I have trouble accomplishing things and I put the power elsewhere.
I love this intricate, infinite, incredible Universe, but I am just as much a part of this Universe as everything else and it is not The Universe that did my work. I didn’t just sign my name on someone else’s test.
So yes, I fucking did it! I overcame depression. I got sober from a fifteen year pot addiction. I detoxed and Feng Shui-ed my entire life. I learned how to choose the people and circumstances that I want in my life. I learned to listen to my heart and trust my gut and tune out the loud-ass-mother-fucking ego that used to navigate my psyche. I climbed treacherous internal mountains.
None of it fell from the sky. No blessings rained down upon me.
I did the work.
I made it happen.
And I am so grateful- to my past, present and future self, for all of it.