There were (and will be) times in life when ‘gratitude’ feels hard. I guess it’s only human.

Despite knowing the benefits of gratitude, we also know that knowing what to do is one thing, while actually DOING IT is another thing. It can be hard to feel grateful when we’re going through rough patches, although this is probably the time when we need the ‘attitude of gratitude the most’.

So, during those times when I sit down to write my gratitude for the day and it feels somehow difficult (or I keep repeating the same things to be grateful about without really feeling it), I do this instead:

I begin by acknowledging the things that (I think) don’t go well in my life at the moment, and then I work with these prompts in my journal (or say these things in my mind):

1. “But at least, at the moment, I don’t have to worry about _______. So, thank you, for _______.”

2. “But, maybe it’s not THAT bad, because at least I _______. So, I’m grateful for _______.”

3. “However, today I can still _______. So, thank you for _______.”

I realize that framing my ‘gratitude’ this way, makes it feel easier. At times, it even feel more genuine, more relevant, and more immediate.

Let’s see one of those prompts in action:

“My flight is delayed for 3 hours, but maybe it’s not THAT bad, because at least I can spend my time working from here. Thank you for I still have work! And that my laptop is fully charged. And I’m grateful for this waiting room, with its free Internet access, with the AC working well, the plugs for recharging, and oh, thank you for those coffee shops nearby; so I can grab a cup of latte when I want. Wow, I’m grateful that I have more than enough money to buy a cup of latte…”

I find these prompts helpful to let me ‘roll’ into the ‘attitude of gratitude’ even if I started out by acknowledging my fears, worries, or difficulties.

As I write/think the next sentence, and the next, and the next, I can feel how each one gives my mood a tiny uplift.


3 Responses

  1. I’ve been feeling an unidentified sadness since yesterday. But reading this post just now helped me feel a lil bit of warmth. So I’d like to say thank you for always sharing a piece of your thought here Kak Hanny. I’m grateful that I stumbled to your blog several years ago and keep coming back once in a while, when I need inspirations or simply to log off of my own mind for a moment.


  2. Halo Hanny. Salam kenal.

    Saya sudah membaca terjemahan dari tulisan 6 Things to Experience Before Even Deciding to Quit Your Job. Saya memang mau mencoba tantangan baru setelah berpuluh tahun menjadi karyawan. Walaupun tidak bekerja disatu perusahaan terus-menerus, tapi hidup saya banyak dihabiskan untuk mengabdi ke pekerjaan di perusahaan.
    Saya bermimpi besar untuk memulai sesuatu yang baru dalam hidup saya. Tulisan Hanny itu menambah wawasan saya. Terutama point merencanakan dan menikmati hidup setiap hari.

    Sukses selau untuk Hanny dan keluarga.

If you made it this, far, please say 'hi'. It really means a lot to me! :)

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We tend to shape our memories of them based on the limited time we spend with them—and our memories of them, over time, will be replaced with one single word, one single interaction, or one single feeling.
Beradadisini Love Letter to Self
I took up a personal journaling project this week: writing a love letter to myself before bed. I work on a thin A6-size handmade paper journal I got from a paper artist, Els. The journal is thin and small enough, so it doesn't overwhelm me. It feels like I am only going to work on a small project.
Standing up for yourself does not have to look aggressive. It does not have to feel like a fight. It's not always about convincing others or explaining yourself and your decisions with the hope that everyone else understands or accepts your choice.
Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer/artist/illustrator and stationery web shop owner (Cafe Analog) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.