Finding Gratefulness in Guilt

Today I want to ramble on about gratitude. 

  
Being grateful is something I’ve struggled with as I moved out of my parent’s house and on with my life. I felt sick everytime I thought of them. I felt absolute disgust with the way I was treated and the things that were said to me. When I left, never in a million years did I think I would be able to speak to them again, let alone forgive them. Being grateful for my family has been…a development I guess is the best way I could describe it.

When I would vent about my family, I always felt bad. I felt bad because it is in my nature. Guilt was another thing my family made me feel. They did this knowingly and unmercifully. Honestly, if you really want me to do something, find some way to rope guilt into it and I am your girl. Even when I knew I was justified in getting the weight of my past off my chest, I still felt guilty for doing it. After all, my mother did birth me. My dad did support me financially until I cut myself off. These things were necessary for me to be alive. 

But the one thing I had to understand was that I did deserve these things. They gave me life and therefore had to take care of me. There was no reason to feel guilty. If they thought it was a hardship, they should not have had me. Feeling guilty for leaving and honestly creating a better life for myself was wrong. 

Feeling guilty was a sin. God gave me parents for a reason. He provided them to care for me when I needed it to grow and serve Him. Feeling like I owe them something for this was wrong. They knew it, but still used my guilt to their advantage.

Add in perfectionism, drive and blind strong-headedness, I got into some rough waters concierning my emotional health. When I finally cut myself off, I was done with them. For good. There was no reason to put myself through that anymore. God would not let me. I as good enough.

But I was still mad. Very angry at them underneath it all. I did not feel guilty. I felt no compassion either. I could not fathom how they could do so many things wrong. I mean, why did you have to comment on everything I did? Why was I never enough? It’s hard to find gratefulness in that mindset.

When I think about this, I can get into some very dark places. I do not show it externally, but it’s there brewing inside of me. For a long time, I did not know how to deal with it, so I brushed it off and let it fester. Until I was tired of it. Tired of being siteful. Tired of seeing my mom in myself. Tired of being secretly unhappy with my family.

So I forgave them. Consciously, out loud, everytime a bad thought came in. It was hard to come out of the dark hole with love, but it was one of the best feelings when I finally forgave.

What came next? Gratitude. Yes, I am not grateful for what my family was for me. They were unperfect, but I would not be me without them.

  
What am I grateful for? 

I am grateful for the mistakes they made so I will not do the same things. I am grateful for the life they gave, but also know that it was their given duty from my Savior, so I do not need to feel like I owe them anything back. I am grateful for the nuggests of wisodm that sometimes came out of my dad’s mouth. I am grateful that I can recognize BS when I hear it because of all teh Fox News he spew at me. I am well versed in Biblical teachings because they brought me to church and prayed with me.

  
They were not perfect. Not close. But I am grateful for that imperfection.

Tell me your family stories. What are you grateful for?

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2 comments

  1. I love this post, Ellie. I think it is absolutely amazing–seriously amazing–at how you have moved toward loving your family more and more despite all you have been through. I know it hasn’t been easy, but you are better for it!

    I am grateful in similar ways, for my family. For the times I felt my parents were “too strict” (ha.. they were SO right!), for the ways they cared so much when I didn’t want them to, and for always making me laugh. You are right, God gives us our families for a reason!

    • Aw thanks for your thoughtful comment Allie. I think God is trying to make me see the beauty in every situation. I thank Him for that because it makes me such a happier person πŸ™‚

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