Do you remember being served broccoli for dinner and when you turned your nose up, your parents said you should be grateful to have food because there were starving kids in the world who would give their foot to eat your broccoli?
Do you recall a time when you had a plethora of toys and wanted one or ten more things, and you were told that you were greedy for wanting more than you have - that you should be grateful for what you do have because there were kids somewhere who didn't have any toys?
Do you recollect when you were living in a place you thought was equivalent to living in a dump and wanted to move into a bigger/better space and someone said you should be grateful for having a roof over your head because there were plenty of people living on the streets?
Appreciation is a powerful tool. It's one of the most powerful approaches you can have to your life but not when you feel bad for not appreciating.
You have food, you have parents, and you have a job, but if you don't like the food or where you live, your parents are horrible, and your job sucks, what do you do?
How are you supposed to appreciate that?
Believing you're supposed to appreciate something when you don't appreciate it at all makes you feel bad.
Being told as a kid to be grateful for a size 14 snow suit when you wore a size 8 was the last thing you wanted to do.
Being told to appreciate your brother who got all of the attention was-not-at-all something on your "want-to-do" list.
When you're tired from being up every hour and a half to feed your hungry baby, hearing that you should be grateful to have a baby is usually the last thing you want to hear. Then, you feel bad because you're not appreciating your baby who's got you up all night and you feel bad because you have a baby and there are people who can't have a baby. What you'd be really thankful for is 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep - that's what you'd be grateful for.
When you feel so ill you can hardly move or your body feels like its speaking a foreign language, hearing that you should be thankful to be alive makes you want to punch somebody's noggin' into orbit.
When you want to take a trip you don't have the money for, being told that you should appreciate that you can get in your car and drive to town can make you want to spit at the person who said that.
If someone tells you you should be grateful for being single when you'd run a mile in your underpants just to have an argument with a person you're in a relationship with; or if you're told you should be grateful that your dog got run over and died quickly rather than being ravaged by some disease - and by the way he was old anyway - it still doesn't make you want to appreciate it.
Being grateful, thankful or filled with appreciation is usually not how you feel in most of these cases and someone telling you that you should be - does not feel good.
Being told you should be thankful for something you don't want or don't like is downright annoying.
There's nothing wrong for not feeling thankful for something you don't want, don't like, and certainly don't prefer.
Feeling bad for not being thankful is like the old pirate saying the beatings will continue until the moral improves.
Your guilt for not appreciating what you have is not going to end world hunger, provide housing for people, or, get you what you want.
No amount of feeling bad for not feeling appreciation for what you have, what you're doing, where you are, or what you're experiencing is going to make you appreciate more.
Let it be okay that you don't like what it is.
Let it be okay that you want things to change.
Let it be alright that you wish things were different.
Don't make yourself appreciate something you don't.
Don't make yourself like something you don't.
You might have to think about your painted toe nails. Or your kitten. Or maybe that warm cozy blanket that you like so much to snuggle into.
You might have to take your mind off of the thing that you don't like or don't appreciate very much if at-all, and put your attention on something else for awhile.
Appreciation of something feels better than not appreciating at all.
What can you find that you appreciate?
What are the simple things in your life that you enjoy?
What person makes you laugh?
What flowers do you love?
What music do you like?
Do you have photos on your phone that make you feel good when you look at them?
What about that person who smiled at you?
Just take your attention and put it on something that feels better.
Don't try to make yourself feel thankful when you don't.
Don't beat yourself up, don't make yourself wrong and if someone told you that you should be thankful, let them off the hook too - they probably meant well.