How to Practice Wholehearted Gratitude

I have been blogging for a year and half now. A lot of learning, growth, healing and connection has happened in that year and a half. 197 posts of learning, growing and healing to be exact. As I am continuing to work on growing the platform of Ever Upward, I am growing my Justine Froelker’s YouTube channel. You can find Self-Care Tip Tuesdays, funny videos of the dogs, tapping scripts, my appearances on Great Day St. Louis and videos of me speaking to old blog posts, so please subscribe!

I originally wrote Living Wholehearted With Perspective Not From Comparison in January of 2015. This is a slightly reworked and updated version of it, along with a NEW video explanation.

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Twice in one year I had to go back to work as the authentic therapist I am after being out from a family member's life threatening, and ultimately life changing, accident. I had to pray before each session and take a deep breath in order to be present for my clients and to not compare my hard with their hard. I had to have the conversation with my clients that they are still allowed to their struggle even though they knew what I had been going through.

In one year's time we had two of our closest family members, my dad and Chad's sister, suffer life threatening and forever life changing medical traumas.

During this time I learned how to allow myself struggle while helping others through struggle, I learned more in the hard life lesson of letting go of comparison and I grew even more into my wholehearted life.

This is living life in the wholehearted way.

Hard is hard.

Sure there is life or death but hard is just hard.

 
 

This is perspective. What I think we must remember is to practice this wholeheartedness with perspective but not through comparison.

This comparison comes up a lot in the practice of gratitude. Practicing gratitude has been something I've taught to my clients for years at this point. Practicing gratitude has years of research to support the positive benefits of it. Practicing gratitude has been tweaked and improved by many of my favorite people such as Sonja Lyubomirsky, Marie Forleo, Brené Brown, Gabrielle Bernstein and Elizabeth Gilbert.

I write about the different ways I practice gratitude myself and what I teach my clients in Chapter 4 - Choosing Change in Ever Upward, especially in gratitude journals. Which you can guess are usually received with an audible groan and rolling of the eyes. But, it works! I promise!

What I have learned since writing the book is that I need to check my intentions when practicing my gratitude. I need and want my gratitude to come from a place of wholeheartedness. I need and want my gratitude to come with perspective and not from comparison.

We've all heard the sayings, be thankful someone always has it way worse than we do or it could be worse. I think practicing gratitude from this place of comparison is not healthy for us. And I know for sure, that practicing gratitude from this place of comparison, especially when coping with anxiety or depression, only makes it worse. Practicing gratitude from comparison leaves me asking myself, "Why can't I just be happy?" Which, ultimately, only feeds the depression.

Of course, things could always be worse. Trust me, half the time I've survived the worse. However, I must choose to practice my gratitude from the intention of a new perspective and not from comparison.

Whatever our hard, it is all just really hard. Sometimes, hard is actually life or death. But, all the time it is the life or death battle of losing ourselves.

It is true, comparison is the thief of joy, happiness...really of all good. Check your intentions as you practice your gratitude, better yet as you live your life.  Live wholehearted from the lens of a new perspective but not in the darkness of comparison. I promise you will feel the difference immediately. I promise your ever upward will come into full focus for you to walk into and fully embrace.

 
 
 

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Not Allowing Comparison to Steal Connection

I have been actively having to fight off the monsters of scarcity and comparison lately. In The Daring Way™ work, based off the research of Brené Brown, we talk about how scarcity and comparison always have seats in the arena. When we live our lives wholehearted and we choose to show up, be seen and live brave™, scarcity and comparison will always be lingering.

Scarcity: The idea that there is not enough to go around or that feeling that we will never be _________________ (pretty, thin, happy, rich, etc.) enough.

Comparison: Comparing our lives and our journey to the person next to us.

For years, I have told my clients that comparison is never really an accurate lens to view our truth through. When we really think about it our life is simply not comparable. No one has, nor will anyone ever, walk this earth that is exactly like us; never the same genes, the same life experience, never ever again.

How is that even close to comparable?

And, yet the world we live in teaches, preaches and pushes comparison as the only way to know that we are okay and doing okay.

Scarcity and comparison hit me hard last week after I had the honor of speaking with two authors I greatly admire. First, I connected with Pamela Tsigdinos, author of Silent Sorority and Finally Heard. Pamela is doing incredible work in the culture of infertility. I felt myself taking a deep breath after reading Finally Heard while saying to myself, "Yes, I must connect with her." While talking with Pamela she mentioned several names of other women in the not only survivor of infertility club but also in the childfree not by choice club; including Tracey.

I immediately googled Tracey  and knew I had to reach out to her. We scheduled to talk the very next day!

But, the comparison had already begun. I was both intimidated and jealous of how many endorsement quotes Tracey had for her book The Next Happy, let alone that she was backed by a big publisher.

My conversation with Tracey flowed so easily. It honestly was like talking to not only a fellow warrior, but also a true friend and colleague. Our stories are eerily parallel; from our career paths to what our books are about. I am thankful to have found these women, the women I feel more of a fitting in with, the survivors who infertility treatments did not work for.

The survivor who is living the childfree not by choice life, or what I call the childfull parent life.

The survivor who is demanding a change in our infertility community.

The survivor who knows these lifelong losses all too well.

And yet, very quickly that inner critic voice came in beating me into the dark with scarcity and comparison.

Ever Upward will never get big enough, you don't know the right people, no one will ever take the chance on you.

The big publisher will never notice this little book.

She already has the success, there is just not enough to go around.

You're not good enough.

You will always be in this 'nose to the grind stone, working your ass off in 3 jobs, never getting the big break, never being able to afford help' part of this entrepreneurship.

Scarcity and comparison settled in so much, that I was actually saying out loud, "She's a real published author," which did not go over well with Chad at all.

What I know, and what I trust, is that these messages are not my truth. I simply refuse to allow them to be. I also refuse to allow scarcity and comparison to keep me stuck in fear and therefore rip away the potential of what this could be; a brilliant piece to the ever upward puzzle.

 
 

A lot of this puzzle I create myself.

Ever Upward is a good book that is helping many people and is very much needed in this world. It will succeed, as it already is and it will continue to grow as it deserves.

There is plenty to go around. This will happen for me and Ever Upward, as it already is helping so many people. I am good enough. My work and my belief in myself will make it all happen.

And most of all, it is in my voice and my light, which has never existed before nor ever will exist again, and that is nothing short of a miracle.

But, most of all, this is my truth and it is brilliant and I wouldn't be honoring myself or happy if I wasn't writing, shouting, changing the world and connecting with others.

And so, I will thank my inner critic voice for trying to protect me, make me work hard, etc. and simply say thank you but no thank you (as I am learning in Tara Mohr's Playing Big).

I will hold on to what I know is my inner truth and light, and to these new and incredible relationships I am so thankful for and excited to see where they lead us.

Simply, I will not allow scarcity and comparison to steal away amazing connection.

Because I choose this wholehearted life; the life and the work of rising ever upward.

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Ever Upward is selling, the reviews are positive...so what now? If you haven't left a review on Amazon, it would help a ton and mean so much to me! And, the biggest help is sharing about Ever Upward on your social media! What is your favorite quote? Where is your favorite reading spot? What have you implemented from Chapter 4-Choosing Change? Upload a post and a picture and tag me and Ever Upward for a chance to win an Ever Upwardjournal for FREE! Links: EU Facebook, Instagram (@jlbf4), Twitter (@JustineFroelker.