I am going to attempt to put my mixed up thoughts into words, perhaps cry a few tears, then get on with it. Gratitude is timely around Thanksgiving and for the most part gratitude is often foremost on my mind and seeps out in most of my blog entries. As those close to me know during months of holding tightly to gratitude I was masking an internal battle with my own well being. I now find myself struggling a bit with the whole concept of gratitude. Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe I have much to be thankful for and strongly advocate for a mindset of gratitude. I have a lengthy list of things to be thankful for and I continue to give that voice. I was raised to be thankful and feel blessed by the example my parents and grand parents set for me. I am the classic glass half full girl, the determined optimist always trying to put whatever comes my way in a positive light. There is nothing wrong with that or is there? I have been tossing around the term toxic gratitude in my head for the last week. It seems so counter intuitive, so negative and so contrary to everything I hold dear and the go to strategy I have engaged for many years. So can being grateful be toxic? That is the question I have been pondering. Now in the pondering I don’t have any intention of becoming so different than I’ve always been. But I do believe sometimes my positivity and need to always appear grateful has blinded me to the things I put up with and stuffed down so that I could be grateful. Even as I write this and try to unpack some of my feelings around gratitude I am conflicted. I usually want to make everything all right for the people I love. I want to show up and play the part of the loving wife , mother and grandmother pushing positivity and resolve. That intention seems the opposite to living alone and taking great care to look after myself first. I feel guilt, disappointment and confusion and sometimes see the same in those I love. On this beautiful October, post Thanksgiving day I claim all the aspects of my gratitude. My heart still beats and each waking moment I carry the joy and the sorrow of all that life has given me. I feel the love of family and friends and will continue to do my best to play my part in their lives. But I claim all the rest of it as well and will work toward healing and health in myself first.