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What are you grateful that you don’t have?

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I’m so grateful that we don’t have any contempt in our relationship.

Our conversation began at the end of the day, as we hit lights out. We were both thinking about the scene we’d witnessed earlier that evening – a couple seated at the table behind us, separated by a bristling acid cloud of contempt, seething and spitting between them. The corners of their mouths were so heavy with disdain that they pulled down into permanent frowns. Whatever love they may once have held had long been corroded. Firmly rooted in its place was this: cutting each other off mid-sentence with acerbic remarks, sneering, sighing and scornful eye-rolling, shaking heads, flashing eyes, open ridicule, and unopened but clearly brimming anger and resentment. That condescension, that contempt, was both fascinating and deeply, deeply affecting.

I was quiet on the way home, breathing deep, whole breaths of gratitude that we didn’t have that. And when we settled in for the night with such love (and the cat) nestled between us, I voiced it.

I’m so grateful that we don’t have any contempt in our relationship.

Me too, my cheeky wife.

It sparked some beautiful dialogue about all the things we valued and adored about what we do have. We spoke about the lightness we both bring into our space. We acknowledged the peace we always strive to maintain in our home – the lone magnet on our fridge (pictured above) is testament to that. We verbalised our thanks for the reverence we hold for each other and our togetherness. We fell silent to honour the love that connects us. And then he said:

You know what else I’m grateful that we don’t have? A typically aloof cat. I love that she’s so affectionate.

Right on cue, she snuggled into us. Over the soft rumbling sound of her purrs, our conversation meandered.

And I’m grateful that she’s not destructive. I don’t ever feel like we have to worry about coming home to shredded furniture or anything. (Well, there was that time she climbed – and ruined – the new curtains that weren’t even up an hour. But that was a one-time deal.) Even so, I love that she’s part of our home nucleus.

I’m grateful that we’re not attached to our stuff. (Those curtains, though. They weren’t exactly cheap.)

I’m grateful that we don’t own a lot of stuff to be attached to. Mmm, I like that we clear out on a regular basis. It feels good. And our space is neat and cosy and uncluttered. Just the way we like it.

Aren’t you grateful that we don’t need a lot of stuff? (We do need a new smoothie maker, though. Since the old one fell apart, I’ve been missing our smoothie fix.)

Soon, we wound our way over to all the things we ARE grateful for.

We do green juices. My body is so grateful for those.

True. And our mini-trampoline. My body always thanks me when I actually get on it.

And… And… And…

From the tangible to the emotional to the ethereal, we named the objects and subjects of our appreciation. Our great.full.ness expanded and filled up every corner of our home that night.

And I’m grateful for you.

I’m grateful for you too.

Okay, let’s go to sleep.


We drifted off with full hearts and a new way of accessing gratitude – one simple question: What are you grateful that you don’t have?

You can’t speak about your gratitude for what you don’t have (and that you don’t want) without speaking about why you’re grateful not to have it. And that gets you talking about all that you do have instead.

Right now, and especially on down days, tough days and really, really painful days, when you’re struggling to see even a pinprick of light, breathe in, breathe out and ask yourself…

What are you grateful that you don’t have?
Your answers will light up the richness and fullness of your life.
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