Ten obstacles to gratitude

In the years that I have introduced gratitude into people’s lives, I’ve noticed there can be obstacles. If you naturally developed a gratitude practice, this may be news to you. 

I briefly set out the ten obstacles to gratitude:


Where there is entitlement, there’s a sense of self absorption that the person is owed, it is their right to have…. This shows up in how people behave when driving and at work to give two examples.


Today more and more people regard themselves as victims. Feeling victimised has grown socially acceptable in recent years.

3.  RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM – “I can do it alone.”

This is about a mindset that is geared solely to personal achievement and soon loses track of the roles others played in shaping our success. 


When we are motivated by what we can acquire or replace, we rob ourselves of the pleasure of all that we have already because there is always something more to get. Any sense of satisfaction is illusory to those consumed by materialism.


We are numb to all we have – the acts of kindness bestowed upon us and the innumerable invitations to gratitude that surround us. 


People who manipulate are rarely able to give any type of gift, whether it be a present or compliment without strings attached. Manipulators ae only concerned with their welfare not ours.


This is both a rich source for deepening gratitude or poison undermining it. Often times, gratitude blooms from the barrenness of suffering. Suffering becomes a poison when the person loses sight of everything apart from the pain.


Gratitude is said to be the heart’s memory. Without it, our hearts would ache. When the memories of gratitude fades, the feeling of deprivation surges unimpeded. Amnesia is a breeding ground for sadness. Without gratitude, we are resigned to the feeling of isolation. 


We live in an age of information overload and this robs us of ‘downtime.’ Time to be. Time to contemplate. To process. Time to listen to our intuition. 


When we are weighed down by sadness, preoccupied by envy, seized by anger, afflicted by guilt or dogged by any number of other negative feelings, we shut the door to gratitude. We become so self absorbed by our distress that we become stuck. We become seemingly imprisoned and unaware of the many invitations to be grateful. 

Gratitude serves as a helpful antidote to countering discord. 

Where there is unawareness of the obstacle or how to dismantle, it may be more expedient to enlist the help of a coach or counsellor. 

Most of these obstacles can be overcome by making a decision to become aware of all that is in front of you regardless of the quantity or quality. You can receive an extract of the book Gratitude Prompts to get you started  by clicking here.  

2 thoughts on “Ten obstacles to gratitude

  1. I love that you included reflection. I even have my clients practice this now too. Being an online business we tend to look at what everyone else is doing, achieving and accomplishing and forget about our successes, no matter how small. Awesome list to reflect on.

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