Friday, 20 March 2009

Gratitude - Not to be Forced

They say that feelings of lethargy, apathy, bouts of anger and other negative states of mind can come to sensitive people as this world is undergoing a transformative process. I suppose that's what I'm feeling... not like me to feel so listless and have such trouble getting along with people. I just want to run away and hide... I'm sure I'm not showing the best of myself but neither are people I meet. Things that wouldn't have been an issue ten years ago seem somehow aggravated today, as if people just can't help themselves. I so wish I could feel more compassion but I am just SO tired. I try desperately to hang in there and not fall prey to despair, so I suppose what I write about isn't always so uplifting either. I am here adding some things to the theme of forced gratitude. A few points overlap what I wrote in my last post.

I recently learned that children who were evacuated to Sweden from Finland during WWII are still plagued by the way they were always told to shut up and be grateful. They wanted nothing more than to be with their parents even if it meant chaos and famine, yet at the time it was thought better for them to have peace and enough food to eat in neutral Sweden. If they were unhappy, they were often severely punished. My dad was sexually abused. My mother was sent to some rich fosterparents in the capital of Finland where they only fed her cakes overflowing with cream and sugar. She was saved by this woman's sister and taken to a famous pediatrician who told them what she needs to eat to regain strength. They eventually adopted her and though they were quite rich, she had to sleep in the father's drafty reception room and always had runny eyes. When I was younger, she used to tell me quite often how she hated the idea of having to be forcibly grateful. Perhaps I have inherited this from her but I also don't like to have the idea of gratitude shoved down my throat. It was never a problem until I started to hang out with spiritually minded Americans online. They seem to be in love with inspirational quotes about gratitude and love to teach it to those of lesser knowing. The country's highly religious backdrop might have something to do with this. What strikes me as really odd though, is why anyone thinks that this should be necessary? I mean, I don't go around feeling totally hateful about life all day long and then communicate with spiritual people online in the evening. Of course there are things one feels grateful for during the day. As a means of self-preservation, one naturally looks for counterparts to all the shitty tings that happen in life. Don't people do this?? I'm sorry but it's hard for me to buy into the idea that people would be so dumb as not to get such fundamental issues on their own. But maybe people really are so removed from any natural sentiments/sensibilities and common sense? I was wondering about the same thing when Feng Shui became popular.

I promised to help an elderly lady with her new computer the other day. I guess it's my own fault that I didn't focus and really think what it is she might need. I trusted that it was just about a few things that I should be able to figure out for her so she didn't have to take in anyone expensive. I didn't expect to get paid but I knew she'd give me a little something. Ok, good deal. Funny enough, everything that could possibly go wrong, did. Since I have no stress tolerance I was quickly in a really bad state of panic, but determined to see this thing through stoically. She however, became frantic as we didn't get anywhere and she was in a hurry as well. The irony is, she probably has money to pay for a professional and only wanted to help me. However the humiliation and the stress took a great toll on me. In the end I felt like an idiot (and was biting my tongue so as not to come out with the usual defensive nonsense arguments) and did of course not feel that she was grateful for my input. It hurt a little but what hurt the most was that she didn't consider my low stress tolerance though she knows about it. The totally unexpected negativity that came out in the situation made me want to run home and cry, which I did later on. She showed some surprising hardness that I wanted to escape. Now I am not wanting to hear some advice that I attracted it through some funny law that came into fashion yesterday. Sure some of it is fine, but when it becomes dogma... well I'll leave it at that.

I simply thought more of my abilities than I should have and was trying to help where my help was maybe not really needed, and the karma came back to me at once, which happens these days, since the pace has been accelerated. Of course, there was also an unhappy combination of circumstances. Anyhow, I really think the law of karma is as good a law as any, and it's been around for a long time. It's just a matter of understanding it. Perhaps in time we will gain more freedom and manifest things that are not from ego, but the way I see it is, as long as we're on Earth we're attached to karma. Funny though, I've had a dream in which I felt complete and utter lack of self-worth. I have never felt anything like this in real life. So I guess there is some subconscious process going on in regard to such issues (and it may well be connected to the collective). I feel that I'm having to battle it in some sense. I don't really feel appreciated by people right now.

People are quite out of control these days, I think that's pretty obvious to anyone who is able to see reality for what it is and feel real feelings. Sometimes we just can't muster loving feelings, compassion or anything else of a positive nature, even when we believe we should. We feel irritated and stressed. We may be aware of the possibility, that in some way the negative encounter was a lesson, but we don't always have the energy to go into it and it's not always sure this is what we should do. You know what? It's all part and parcel of the transition. We may be limitless beings but here in human form, there's a lot to deal with. Those who like to preach from above are not doing any favours. People who are dealing with real life feelings will eventually resolve them, or they will not. It's not for anybody else to determine. You can only let go of your negative feelings when you CAN let go of them. If I started to feel guilty about feeling negative feelings I would indeed only be prolonging my own process, as anything denied or repressed will still be there. I also believe that guilt really drags you down. Common sense, right?

What also strikes me is that people preach about the importance of feeling gratitude all the time and instigating "gratefulness days", yet when I look around online I see little of it expressed towards other people. For instance, considering all the time and effort some people put into replying to other people's questions or blogs, well one would expect a glimpse of "thank you" or a simple acknowledgment of the other's effort a litte more frequently than what one sees now. It doesn't have to be any bombastic feelings of gratitude of course... the more modest kind called common courtesy! One thing my mother did teach me was to express thank you a lot so maybe it's just me... not understanding that not everyone is used to it. It's also not very nice to respond to someone in a forum only to find someone else say the exact same thing further along the line.

I don't (as a manner of speaking) know what goes on in people these days and maybe it's best to know as little as possible. I mean, what I do see is already overwhelming... I have learned, that it's ok to say no to people although I was raised to be kind and nice to everyone. These two attitudes don't always seem in synch but we are living in times of change and there is no reason to plague oneself more than necessary with stressors that lead nowhere. A little bit of toughness is needed at times to get through to people. The compassion comes when it comes. You can't force anything. And you can always consider, whether all you want is to become a more succesful human being or an enlightened person. The latter is apparently not always a very cheery path to take, but somehow I suspect that it's a choice some people have made before they came here and so any attempts to manifest the opposite (a happy, succesful life) will probably go down the drain because it's not what the soul really needs. And gratitude comes when it comes! Courtesy can be taught, but not gratitude, though maybe one can work towards it in some indirect way.

Artwork: "Early Morning", mixed media on paper by author, all rights reserved 1997


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hi Vivi-Mari,

    I will admit that the honesty with which you write can be a bit intimidating but also something I respect as very few, me included, are readily willing to candidly open ourselves to.

    I am not sure that it is purely an American issue, but we certainly are a society that places too much emphasis on looking and feeling good. Keep in mind that we spend billions of dollars each year on self-help books, drugs, therapy and plastic surgery to convince ourselves that we are "enlightened". Our influences often come from the "experts" who try to convince us that this is where happiness can be found. It's a crock.

    Each of us responds differently to the stimulus the world throws at us. I understand how much more difficult this is made by being a sensitive person. There will never be a shortage of people who are ready to make our lives more miserable each time they get a chance.

    Feel compassion for yourself before all else. The rest may come later or not, it doesn't matter. This is your journey and your feelings. It is not a matter of what is right or wrong, it is a matter of simply what is.

    May you find peace,

  3. Thanks Roger for visiting and still wanting to read my "revelations". Well I'm just not a secretive person and I guess to some extent I'm trying to work things out in my mind by writing about them. As I've said before, I believe in abolishing secrecy and fostering openness... I am also interested in human behaviour and somehow have to disclose the real life examples...

    Right now I'm so infinitely tired of being told what to do and how to feel; it comes in from everywhere and mostly from Americans, that's why I draw my conclusions as I do. But that's not to say there aren't vices in other countries too (rolling eyes :-)) Here in Finland, despite all its vices, people don't preach but rather give you something concrete instead, such as donations or food or whatever. I hope it will remain that way.

    You're so very right though, one has to try and accept that there are always people who look for an opportunity to make your life miserable. At times I get overwhelmed - like today in fact. When some things you thought were positive suddenly turn sour because your honesty and candid desire to connect was perceived as a threat. Not saying I don't have to reject people too. But still, these things are never pleasant... I'm not sure I'll ever be able to feel equanimity in the face of these kind of things.

    Thanks for stopping by, it's a comfort! :-)

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