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It’s so important to practice gratitude in good times and bad. The message of gratitude is meaningful but implications of its practice have become oppressive and shaming.

When someone is suffering we have a tendency to begin our condolences with expressions like “at least…” followed by some positive aspect of your life or a harsh comparison to someone who has it way worse. The natural conclusion we make is “as long as I have something to be grateful for my grief is not valid.”

The result is an entire population holding in their pain and sorrow; convinced that their hurt will be dismissed at the presence of anything worthy of gratitude.

The truth is that both things can be true. You can have opportunity and privilege and support while still enduring loss and despair. One does not negate the other. We must create enough space for these experiences to live side-by-side.

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