Maintaining Gratitude in Hard Times: Tracking Expectations / by Justin Gage

Attitude of Gratitude.

It's a lesson that I've learned before, to harvest Gratitude throughout your life, yet I was having difficulties managing balance: how are you grateful for something yet also disappointed in it, how do you not hold to expectations and yet have ideals and recognize your own pains and discomforts and dissonance.
I was looking through e-mails for a writing sample I needed and found a short paragraph I sent to G4G Management responding to the prompt "what are you excited about?"
I looked with affection at this ball of wonder I put forth in my e-mail.
And with it, peace came upon me.
We all have expectations, that's a good thing, they're trackers. What's important is not banking our whole happiness upon whether or not they are fulfilled, and dealing with the emotions that come from them not being fulfilled.
Here's where gratitude comes in as the magic ingredient:
I am setting the intention to practice setting down my expectations of situations. What am I excited about? Is a great question to ask!
Because Maybe all the things I was excited about did not come into being! But, ENTER GRATITUDE: what are the things I was given through this experience that I never expected?
What a gift.
And what specific things do match up to what I was excited about.
When things are wonderful, when things are intense, we can get wrapped up!
I, for one, MOST DEFINITELY get wrapped up into the experience of those that surround me. It engulfs me in a way that is no longer true to all of who I am.
When we don't track expectations and recognize what ways these have been met, we are seeking them everywhere and seeing everything that doesn't match to that expectation.  However, when you recognize just ONE thing that does fulfill that expectation, everything else is EXTRA and gratitude comes overflowing.
Let's recognize our expectations, because simply saying "have no expectations" is a false narrative that doesn't help anyone truly engage with the emotions and seasons they go through.

So this morning, I reflected upon my past journey and what was fulfilled and what was given, prayed and was grateful, played along my gift of a Baby Taylor and felt free.


1. Before entering into an experience, ASK YOURSELF: "What am I excited for?"

  • Make a List, a Song, a Painting, a Dance.


2. Throughout that experience, TRACK as you wake, what you are Grateful for.

  • I love the method of the Gratitude JAR
  • Don't be afraid to express what is maybe causing dissonance in your experience: this is why Non Violent Communication Facilitators are so valuable, not just for interpersonal narrations but also internal dialogues

3. Once the experience is over, GO OVER THAT LIST of what you were Initially excited about!

  • Find one thing that matches up with what you expected, even if it wasn't in the way you expected.
  • There might only be one thing on your list, there may be many, there may be none:



4.Write down all that you did experience in positive ways

  • This is all extra!


5. Be Grateful