Tag Archives: gratitude

The role of self-forgiveness in gratitude

elvan-princess April’s gratitude work focused on mercy and atonement, on forgiveness and making amends to others and to oneself. And, as strange as it may sound, it was a tough theme for me to connect with.

I’ve always lived my life with a focus on being regret-free, always doing the right thing and being a generally good and nice person. Yes, I’ve made mistakes … I am human (much to my chagrin … couldn’t I be an elven princess?).

Anyway, it was an interesting month of gratitude work.

Immanual Kant, a philosopher who, according to Monty Python, was a real piss-ant, felt that “ingratitude is the refusal to acknowledge the good, and as a result is a profound moral failure of the human spirit.” In other words, many times our downfall is not recognizing the mercies and good things that are abundant in our lives.

I took the opportunity to really look at those moments in my life where I didn’t live up to my own standards, those times that I failed to do the right thing as I defined it. And I discovered that I had one big regret in my life that I’ve spent the last year beating myself over the head about.

You see, I was married for 12+ years to a less than ideal partner. This is not a recrimination of the man … I still believe that there is a good person in there somewhere, but I didn’t bring it out in him. We were not a good match. And I had plenty of opportunity to walk away.
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A quarter of gratitude

living in a year in gratitude - first quarter As I mentioned last year, I decided that, starting in January, I would work my way through Angeles Arrien’s book Living in Gratitude, one month at a time as laid out in the book. Well, the first three months have flown by and I thought it would be nice to share with you my progress.

The way this book works is that you are given a selection of Reflections and Practices for the month and you choose to focus on two or three of each. At the end of the month, you review how you did around that month’s theme in the four quadrants of spiritual growth and character development.

January – Begin anew
The theme for January was new beginnings in all areas of life: work/creative service, relationships, finances/right livelihood and health/well being. For the reflections, I chose to focus on what I was learning in these four areas and how I was approaching these areas with child-like curiosity and wonder.

January turned out to be an amazing month for me. My love life blossomed (after a year of focusing on divorce, it was nice to focus on dating for a change). I began in earnest the process of letting go of things that no longer served me and held me back. I learned about the power of vulnerability and how to better trust my own inner voice. Along with my love life, my prosperity blossomed, as well. In January, I had a lot to be grateful for.

For the practices, I jotted down something that made me happy every day, so by the end of the month I had a list of at least 31 things that made me happy. They ranged from getting a new camera (which I am still enjoying!) to having a lovely lunch with friends to being able to refer business to a friend of mine.

In review, January was a good month, a fun month and a month of growth and realizations about myself.
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