Something I’ve struggled with for a long time is trying to balance feeling gratitude for everything in my life, while still desiring and striving for more.
To me, these concepts seemed to conflict with each other at their core. As if they were opposite sides of a coin. And I couldn’t easily reconcile the disconnect.
If I was truly grateful for all that I had, wouldn’t I want for nothing? And if I did have hopes and goals and dreams and wants, didn’t that somehow imply dissatisfaction with my current place in life?
I wanted both. I could see the merits of both. But it felt like an either-or scenario. And it tripped me up.
Until I was introduced, via coaching, to the both-and principle. I don’t know if this is a formalized name but that’s what I’m calling it.
The BOTH-AND principle.
Essentially, this is the idea that you can feel, or have, or believe in two seemingly opposing things at once. That it doesn’t have to be either-or, but can in fact be both-and, as the name implies.
Let me give you an example from my current season of life.
Being home with my baby is such a blessing. I’m truly grateful to be able to have this time with her. And most of the time, it’s awesome. But LAWDY some days I am freaking tired, and bored of the monotony, and feeling a little stir-crazy. And both of those things are totally valid.
Just because I’m usually happy and grateful doesn’t mean I can’t have bad or off days. And just because I sometimes catch myself feeling less than stellar doesn’t mean I’m not filled with gratitude for the opportunity.
It doesn’t have to be either-or! One feeling does not automatically discredit or invalidate the other. And we should never have to apologize or feel guilty for our headspace at any given moment.
Added benefits of the both-and principle
Embracing the both-and principle can also help you release attachment to some of your goals, which takes a lot of pressure off, and makes working towards them way more fun!
For instance, I would love to build up my coaching practice over the next few years. And I plan on working towards that. But if it doesn’t come to pass, or it doesn’t happen in the way I’d like, or the timeline I’m hoping for, then I can rest easy knowing I’m super happy with what I’ve got going on already.
In this way, I can more easily balance gratitude for where I’m at in this moment (which is already pretty freaking awesome) with continuing to work towards a bigger vision / goal for myself.
Lastly, if I’m being honest, I can see where my past self might even have used gratitude as an excuse not to go after some of the things I want!
By believing that aiming higher somehow implied I wasn’t happy with or grateful for my accomplishments thus far, I could stay safely within my comfort zone. I could justify playing small. I could start a blog but not tell anyone about it. 😛 (More on that next week…)
But no longer!
Is anyone else getting fired up and envisioning Mel Gibson riding back and forth on his horse in front of his men all Braveheart style?! No? Just me? Okay. I’ll leave you with that splendid image, lol.