Gratitude can be a true superpower, capable of helping you connect with loved ones around you, making you happier and more comfortable in your life, and allowing you to embrace real contentment.

Gratitude can be an incredibly valuable and useful thing to pursue, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to achieve. Sometimes, we can just start to feel gratitude, with a little deliberate practice. It’s not too hard to install in your life, and you feel it growing and benefitting you very quickly.

A lot of the time, however, there can be some very real barriers to truly experiencing gratitude. There’s common behaviours, which in certain contexts can be quite helpful or useful, but frequently act as a barrier to truly achieving your true potential.

Dealing with these barriers in itself can be difficult, but it’s never impossible. All of this really centres around mindfulness, and being self-aware. Having a willingness to re-evaluate, and look at your behaviour can be an incredibly positive step in itself, but combine that with real effort and thought, and you’ll see some powerful positive developments in your life.

While you might think these barriers are a little too pious seeming, let me reassure you that they’re completely secular. This is all about identifying aspects of your behaviour and life that are really holding you back, and dealing with them.

Once you’ve got these elements out of the way, you can truly begin to embrace gratitude and its amazing benefits. Here’s the five major barriers to true gratitude.

Ambition and Aspiration

This is a classic problem we see within all capitalist and materialistic societies. You get people obsessing over material wealth and status symbols to a point where it drives everything else out of the way. There’s no room for self-awareness or relationships when your desire for that promotion blots everything else out.

You get people talking endlessly about how good it’s going to be when they retire, while they work themselves to the bone in day-to-day life, and none of its good when it comes to all the things that really matter, like happiness, emotional stability, family life, etc.

While a little bit of ambition and aspiration can be a great thing, allowing it to take over can turn you into a very unhappy person, and limit the amount of success you can ever really achieve.

Take a moment to guard yourself against over the top ambition. Click To Tweet

Be aware that in any industry or stage of life, obsessing over materialistic or status symbols can quickly become damaging to your quality of life, and put measures in place to guard against it.

Envy and Jealousy

Envy and jealousy are always going to be really toxic emotions. There’s no two ways about it, coveting what other people have is draining, upsetting and completely unproductive. It only ever truly serves to distract you from what you have, and highlight what you don’t have.

Social media is one of the major culprits we’ve got to blame nowadays. The never-ending highlight reel of everyone you know having an amazing time constantly flashing in front of your eyes while you’re lay, bored, in bed is a solid recipe for envy and jealousy.

While this can be a barrier to gratitude, it’s also a pretty major barrier to happiness as well. Learning to guard against it can be a really positive step in anyone’s life. Once you start learning to deal with it, gratitude for what you have can keep it at bay, as well as learning to step away from potentially draining social media.

Pride and Ego

Pride and ego are only ever useful if you’re frozen with low self-esteem. Beyond that, they just end up a pointless encumbrance, serving only to cut you off from people around you.
There’s this misconception that arrogance and cockiness are necessary when it comes to certain pursuits in life, like leadership, or pursuing the opposite sex. Cockiness can be attractive and charming, but it only has to be skin deep. You should never be drawing on a deep well of ego and superiority.

At our core, we need to connect with people around us. We need lasting, meaningful and fruitful relationships that support us in life. Without them, we’re miserable and lonely. Gratitude can help you strengthen your connection to people around you, but only if you first challenge your ego.

continue to part 2