A Need for Selfish Gratitude

“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”

― Elie Wiesel

I didn’t grow up knowing I was gifted. I didn’t grow up knowing I was learning disabled. I grew up scrapping for any bit of knowledge I could find, but never being satisfied, and certainly not being satisfied with any grade I received in school. I had a very academically talented older brother who seemed rather motivated by grades. I was not only unable to compete, but lacked any motivation to play the silly game.

I was never satisfied with my performance. I could have always done it better, faster, more complete. I challenged myself to be better at anything I did, not realizing the perfectionism was eroding away at my soul. With every inner dialogue pushing me, challenging me, getting me to improve, it reinforced a lack of gratitude for what I had done or accomplished, and I think it’s not uncommon to feel that way growing up struggling whether you’re diagnosed or not.

Gratitude is still a struggle for me. I can be grateful for so many things outside of my locus of control, such as I’m grateful for the men and women in the military serving our country, I’m grateful for being a part of such a wonderful set of bloggers, and I’m grateful for my professor who explained to me that having a learning disability had nothing to do with intelligence.

When it comes to myself and my own endeavors, I have a much more difficult time with gratitude. Even when I voice them, I feel boastful or conceited, and that’s not something I am comfortable with at this time.  It may have to do with confidence or growing up in an area that praised modesty and didn’t encourage such bravado.

I know it’s an issue I struggle with, and I doubt I’m alone, especially in a group of such gifted individuals who have that ugly inner dialogue nagging at them. It ties in with the imposter syndrome certainly, and my be linked to many other challenges we face, but it’s not all bad, for I quote Elie Wiesel again, “No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.”

So maybe it’s time to put aside that inner voice, and realize what we have. I am grateful for being me, for who would I be otherwise? Be grateful for who you are and know that I’m grateful for you as well. Thank you everyone for making this blog and my life so much better.

2 thoughts on “A Need for Selfish Gratitude

  1. M

    I can relate on so many levels. Although I am grateful for so many things outside of myself , I too have had difficulty with finding gratitude for myself and my endeavors. I’m really hard on myself and I rarely complain about anything. Thanks Tom for bringing this to light. It reminds me to be proud and kinder to myself.

    Have a great Thanksgiving, Michelle

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