I don’t know if anybody else has made a connection between gratefulness and complacency. But recently, I have. Being grateful has become much wider used over the past decade. I hear it thrown around in many different ways. Sometimes I feel like its lost its true energy or meaning when I hear it constantly. But I am grateful, you could say, that I still take the word seriously and try to use it appropriately.
However, I’ve had a growing feeling inside that I’ve fallen into a trap of having my gratefulness really be a mask for my laziness sometimes, or better stated, complacency. I wasn’t sure at first if that was the correct way to describe it, but being a writer, I couldn’t help but do some research on what that word actually means. Here’s what I found: Complacency is a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
And yep—that sounded exactly like how I feel sometimes. I realized that I tell myself I am grateful for something or some situation in my life and use that as an excuse not to excel, not to try better, not to want more, not to find better solutions, etc. I’m grateful I have a new job. But does that mean I am supposed to settle, when I know it’s not exactly what I want or need? What’s wrong with wanting more or wanting something better for myself? I think my gratefulness turns into settling for the “ok” sometimes.
Besides work, I feel this a lot with my bipolar disorder. Yes, I am grateful I am not living in a hospital, I am grateful I have the ability to work, I am grateful that my highs and lows and rapid cycling have improved over the last few years. Kinda makes me feel like I should shut up and stop complaining and just be….grateful. At least that is how I feel when people tell me I should just be grateful. And sometimes I listen to them. And I settle for being better than I was a few years ago and I settle for working even though it’s not the best fit and I settle for being alive, but not happy. I become complacent because I’m just supposed to be, grateful.
I am grateful for all of those things, but I want more. And when I get lazy and give into being grateful to just be alive, I forget that I can still further improve my life. That there are dozens of more solutions out there to battle my bipolar disorder and the heavy baggage that comes with it. All of this has been going through my head, and as I finally connected the dots, and identified the feelings, I started to make changes. Of course I waited until January 1, 2019—because like most, I am preprogrammed to put things off until a momentous occasion! But, it works for me.
So I am setting my sights high! Reprogramming myself to not put limits on what I can achieve or who I can be. I know that all of my hard work has gotten me to where I am today, so why not keep going? I’ve got my focus on getting back to eating healthy, unprocessed foods, low screen time and a routine sleep habit as I know all of these weigh heavy on my moods. If it is in my power to improve my situation, then I’m the only one that can do it. And to stay focused on the true meaning of gratefulness, I’ve challenged myself to take one picture a day of something I am really grateful for. Thus far, its resulted in everything from a bowl of almonds, rolling waves, and sunshine to pictures of my little one! Can’t wait to reflect on these pictures that truly express my gratitude on a daily level.