Saturday, August 18, 2012

Good Distractions

Ever been grateful for something as a means of avoiding something you don't want to see?  Or focusing on gratitude as a "cover up"?

Before I say anything else I need to say I think we would all do well to be grateful.  It's a commandment, a true principle, and how easy it is for us humans to take things for granted.  Everyone will agree ingratitude or that "entitled" attitude is ugly. I'm writing this as more of an observation about how good things can become misguided and deceiving if not kept in context.

Being grateful for things can be misused.  It can be an easy alternative to facing a difficult situation, or unpleasant part of our lives.  Like the 36yr old single male who is so grateful to still be living for free in mom and dad's house that he never wants to make any uncomfortable independent lifestyle changes. The gratitude is there, but it's not helping anything.  Focusing on and being grateful for " the good" to avoid looking at or dealing with the "the bad" may be more of a distraction than anything.  That isn't real gratitude.

A few examples:  Focusing on gratitude for your children, your work, your yard, your house....will not correct your addiction, alter your poor diet, or fix the dead battery in your car.  It could distract in fact that you need to change your diet, and get a new car battery.      

Don't get me wrong, we should all choose to carry gratitude in our hearts for our blessings and the many many things in our lives.  However, it needs to be said every so often that it's possible to focus on and be grateful for good things in such a way that it distracts us from facing unpleasant truths, or truths we haven't yet been willing to become aware of.

Sometimes ingratitude is the problem.  We all know that.  But for some moments and challenges focusing on being more grateful is not a solution.  Finding the truth is better.  I notice this sometimes happens in a religious context.  We are grateful for many things as members of the church.  Sometimes however being grateful for things like "being part of the only true church", "being so grateful for a living prophet", "being grateful for additional scriptures the rest of the world doesn't have" etc.... sometimes it can all cause us to remain blind to other truths that need our attention.  A certain flavor of "thankfulness" for good things sometimes won't allow us to see anything BUT that.  In that mindset important truths about our latter day status can get overlooked or ignored all the while distracted with our great pride and "thankfulness" for so many "good things" we have.

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