Why people have trouble feeling grateful


It’s difficult to acknowledge what we have. One of the explanations people give for why they’ve stopped showing appreciation (or even feeling it) is that they’ve simply stopped paying attention, as their lives have become more sped up or routine. Part of the reason we start to take things (including relationships) for granted in this way is because it’s actually hard to recognize and have feelings for what we have. Slowing down and living in a state in which we feel more present and aware of what makes us happy and gives our lives meaning naturally allows us to feel more joy, but it’s also a gateway to sadness.

As much as we all would say we want love, acknowledgment, happiness, kindness and generosity, it can be very hard to accept each of these for a variety of unexpected reasons. To love means we are vulnerable and wanting, which puts us in a position where we have something to lose. To be in touch with what matters to us brings us closer to our feelings, with happiness and sadness becoming more prominent. Generosity, both offering it and having it offered to us, often arouses sadness. This emotion can make us uncomfortable or anxious, but it can also have a simultaneously calming and invigorating effect, making us feel more vital and exuberant. Feeling sadness centers us in ourselves.

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