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What The Heck Do You Mean, What Am I Grateful For?

Rebecca Soulette

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There are times in life where the LAST thing we feel is grateful. Angry, resentful, victimized, furious, yes. Grateful? Not a chance!

All folks involved with Rhonda Britten's Fearless Living Institute know that writing down 5 gratitudes a day is an important step in building the lives we want to be living. But one of the most avoided (yet most meaty and fun!) areas of gratitude writing is creating gratitudes based on those things we COMPLAIN about. Doing so can actually turn into a hilarious, creative and freeing experience.

Now, I don't know about you, but when I'm complaining about something, I can be pretty passionate about it. One particular, recurrent complaint I have is that I hate that my downstairs neighbor plays super loud & angry hip hop music around 11 or 12 at night. He's also kind of scary, so asking him to turn it down is a dicey proposition, so I've decided to live with the noise, but there are times when I HATE it! My floor vibrates, I have to turn my own TV up to hear it, and the only way I can sleep is to mask the noise with my a/c.

Clearly, it's a valid complaint. It would bother other people too. But just mentioning it feels icky, heavy, and draining to me-and I don't want to feel icky, heavy, or drained.

But how's this for fun?

What do you suppose I could be grateful about when his music is playing? Because there are quite a few VALID things that I could be truly grateful for and FEEL grateful for in this situation.

Here are a few:

  • I'm grateful that I can vacuum at 11pm when my downstairs neighbor's music is on full blast and I won't bother anybody.
  • I'm grateful that I can afford to live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, right by the water.
  • I'm grateful that I live in a building with other people instead of in a building that was cavernous and empty.
  • I'm grateful that I remember how much fun it can be to listen to my favorite songs really loudly.
  • I'm grateful that I can hear so well.
  • I'm grateful for the soft cushions on my couch because they don't vibrate as much as the floor when his music is playing.
  • I'm grateful that my neighbor is kind of insane because it gives me regular opportunities to bless him and to remember he's God's well-loved child too.

See how creative and fun those can be? Did any of those make you laugh? Make you think differently? Did any of those feel as heavy as the original complaint?

What my clients and I find so fun about turning complaints into gratitudes is how MANY gratitudes we can think up for situations that we used to think were hopeless and victimizing. And it often gives us new ideas how to approach the situations. For instance, it's actually really nice, sometimes to vacuum my living room in the middle of the night-I may not have been able to do it before then, so it's kind of cool to have the freedom to make as much noise as I want in the middle of the night. It's also a great time for me to do exercise DVDs that include a lot of jumping around-I know my neighbor won't even hear it.

So how about you? What's a complaint you've got today? I challenge you to find 5-10 things you can be grateful for in the situation. Write them down and see if it shifts your perception!

(c) 2008 Rebecca P. Soulette

Life Coach, Rebecca Soulette, CFLC III, is a senior level coach certified through the Fearless Living Institute. She is an expert in helping her clients to live fulfilling and balanced lives packed full of inspiration, joy, and freedom. She offers FREE ecourses, resources, teleclasses, private 1:1 and group coaching. For more information or to sign up for her FREE email newsletter, check out

This article can be reprinted freely online, as long as the entire article and this resource box are included.


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