Life works best backwards. A couple of my clients taught me this last week. One person--who wants to be happy--found that when she took time to appreciate her blessings, she was happy.
Another person--who is working on anxiety--did something challenging and scary, and afterward felt confident.
Seems like usually we want to be happy first, and then we'll consider being grateful. We want to feel confident first, and then we'll think about whether to venture out.
This just makes sense. It's nice and easy. Feel good, do good. (If you remember. But at least feel good, right?)
As a culture, we expend an enormous amount of time, money, and energy trying to make ourselves feel happy and confident. And I saw a piece on the news last night saying that depression is being diagnosed at record rates right now. Something's not working.
When we pursue the emotional rewards without doing the emotional work, we end up with a counterfeit. Try making yourself happy without being grateful. I bet you will end up being whiny and demanding when everything doesn't go just the way you need. (I think this will happen to you, because this is what happens to me.) Try being confident without genuinely facing your fears. You'll end up with bravado.
I think my clients have the answer figured out. The truth is--when we're looking toward emotional and spiritual growth--life works best backwards. We step out first--in gratitude, in courage, in faith--and the emotional, spiritual reward follows.
I love this quote:
"We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us." Audre Lourde
What are you waiting for?