Gratitude and Shame

She didn’t feel grateful. Not one bit.


She wasn’t feeling very grateful.


Gratitude came easy to her when things were going well.


When it came to gratitude, she thought it was reserved for receiving gifts and for when things went well. Like when she felt seen and heard, supported, and nurtured.


It was easy to feel grateful as long as her partner helped with dinner and thanked her for doing all the grocery shopping. Or when a project was going well and the money was coming in. Or when her team won.


When all the ducks lined up this way, gratitude was the obvious response.


And it felt good, too. Like a high vibe hug. This surely must be what they mean by synchronicity and flow! #winning




And then the season would change. Hubby stopped helping with dinner and that promising project went unnoticed and unappreciated.


Maybe her feet hurt too much and the nights were too restless. The bills piled up. And nothing seemed to be going and flowing her way anymore.


Well what’s to be grateful for, she’d ask? Sure, I’m breathing and eating and have a roof over my head.


But it doesn’t feel like winning. It doesn’t feel like a high vibe hug.


It feels like too much giving and not enough return on investment.


And it feels shameful to admit this because look at all those who truly suffer….




So she tried to feel grateful. She’d imagine all she had compared to those who had not.


And she’d feel more shame. And resentment. And frustration. And low, low vibes.


She felt stuck. Emotionally exhausted. Worn out. Overwhelmed. And for reals, not very grateful at all.




She couldn’t grasp back then that gratitude was 100% an inside job. That it didn’t matter who won or who lost, the money that came in or went out. It didn’t matter if she did the shopping or the cooking, or if she received gifts or not.


She couldn’t grasp back then that it didn’t matter one iota what happened in her environment. If she got what she wanted or lost it all.


She also REALLY couldn’t grasp that gratitude was the thinnest veil between herself and absolutely everything she wanted to see, feel and experience in her life. #highvibesfordayz


Gratitude – an inside job – is a radical state of receivership.


Gratitude is a practice. It is a choice.


At it’s best, gratitude is an elevated high vibe feeling state – not an intellectual endeavor – that creates energy shifts with the power to profoundly change your life.



We’re deep in the most tumultuous, fractious time of our collective lives.


Did your team just win or lose? Are your loved ones safe, well, free and happy?


Can you hold gratitude in your heart? No matter what?




The Curious Connection Between Gratitude and Shame


Have you ever been truly upset by an issue in your life, but felt as though it were wrong of you to have your feelings because somewhere in the world someone else had it worse?


Somehow a message penetrated your brain that told you that your problem wasn’t worthy of your heartache (even though it was REALLY real). Because underneath it all, you weren’t worthy… of your experience, of your pain, or of your healing.


If you are around my age, chances are pretty good that someone presumably well-intentioned told you to finish your dinner because there were starving kids in Africa. Weird Al even wrote a song about it.


This simple statement served to create a powerful subconscious program:


      1. There truly isn’t enough to go around. You get dinner while others do not. You receive at the expense of someone else. This is catastrophic for an intuitive, empathic kid’s mindset.


It also served to create a direct connection between gratitude and shame. A connection that our culture continually reinforces.


Because the message goes like this: You should feel grateful and eat your dinner.


The subtext says: Because we live in a world that says you deserve it and someone else does not.


And this creates shame in empathic people who can’t understand the system of incredible inequity within which we live.



We KNOW we should feel grateful for all that we have. But remember, gratitude isn’t an intellectual process. Like the woman described above, we all get emotionally stuck when we deny our real emotions.


Add to this the many cultural messages that tie gratitude to shame, it’s easy to see how this gets tangled and confusing.


But did you know that in the presence of true gratitude – felt viscerally in the body – shame and lack and fear and all that compare&despair dissolve?


And have you gotten it in your bones that gratitude is a powerful practice to support radical self-love?


Sure, you’ve heard about its many other benefits, but at its core, gratitude is fundamental to loving yourself.




I am 100% certain that you did not create this system of haves and have nots.

I am 100% certain that you deserve to own all of your feelings – no matter what.

I am 100% certain that gratitude is a revolutionary act that will create change in your life and in the world around you.


Because love – including and especially self-love – is our core operating mandate.


As we turn the corner towards Thanksgiving Weekend/Native American Heritage Day in the US, I invite you to use your ever-expanding wokeness to consider the blessings of being born or living in the wealthiest country on the planet. (This goes for many others outside the US, including Aussies and Kiwis.)


The blessings we have to feel free, to prosper, to be educated, and to love who we will have been born at the expense of those who came before us. Our abundance in the US is derived from the extraction of incomparable natural resources that this continent offered and of course, the vast amount of free labor that slavery ensured.


This is a tremendously painful and potentially shame-inducing colonial legacy, yes, but we also have an incredible opportunity to create something new out of it. But we have to embrace the blessings first.


From this perspective, can you see how gratitude is a revolutionary act of self-love?


True gratitude – felt through the senses, not just our words – is a super-charging powerful source for creating change, for creating Heaven On Earth, and for healing painful legacies, be they individual or collective.


This is your birthright! Are you claiming it?


Big Love,



P.S. This Thanksgiving, as people in my state are standing in huge lines for groceries (again), as I share a beautifully prepared meal with just a few people – one of whom is dying – I will choose gratitude. And I will also honor those who came before. How will it be for you?