My mother used to say, “You can’t be unhappy and grateful at the same time.” Over the years, I have found how right she was, in matters of the heart.
Often, we think of love as a big emotional experience and we put conditions on it. We think, if X, Y, and Z happens, I can experience love. We think of it as something outside ourselves that we suddenly arrive at one day. But actually that is not so.
I think of love like the air we are breathing. It’s always there, even if we don’t notice it. However, when our minds, emotions, pre-occupations, “shoulds,” worries and doubts take over, they can profoundly interfere with experiencing the simple state of loving.
How do we access it? We need triggers so we can remind ourselves that love is always there. How do we know it in our hearts as a breathing, living, knowing, practical grounded state of our daily existence? How do we know it when we feel challenged, when we’re running to our jobs and our kids are throwing temper tantrums, and we’re late for the train and we can’t find our keys?
How do we find that love in the hustle and bustle of life? When we feel criticized and rejected? When we are judging ourselves and our circumstances? When we don’t get what we want? When our colleague gets promoted for a job we wanted? When we ask for a raise and we don’t get it? When the bills are mounting and we don’t know how to pay them? Where is love then, and most importantly, how do we find it? How do we get back to our hearts? And why does it matter?
Here is the quickest fix for getting into your heart: Being grateful. I believe that true gratitude can shift even the most negative emotions. As my mother used to say, we cannot occupy two conflicting states of emotion at the same time. If you are unhappy, challenged and feeling stuck, here is the key to shift: gratitude. “Change the channel to what you want to experience,” another one of my mother’s favorite sayings.