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  • Writer's pictureMighty Oaks Counseling

Thoughts on Gratitude, Featuring Maryam


Saying thank you is a skill I learned as early as a toddler. As a recovering people pleaser, thank you became second nature for me. However, I never knew how powerful giving shukr could truly mean.

I often heard the word shukr growing up in my Pakistani Muslim household. Shukr شكر is the Arabic term for gratitude. I have learned for myself that the essence of shukr is not simply to give it, but to strive to be an embodiment of it. Shukr is reflecting, acknowledging, and honoring all the pieces of my life puzzle. This is something that often caused a lot of confusion and hurt in my early years. “So, ignore the bad and only focus on the good? WHAT ABOUT MY FEELINGS?” Younger me was wise because I was right, my feelings were important! And I didn’t realize, I could have shukr for that too. Shukr is not meant to invalidate your experiences, but to highlight all the pieces of your journey. It’s recognizing shukr as refuels to the soul on our life journey.

My practice of having shukr has stretched in ways to fit who I am more authentically. During my required 5 daily prayers, I take time to reflect on my day and have shukr for the joy I experienced in the day. If it was a particularly challenging day, I honor the struggle and pain by having shukr for the parts of myself I may usually overlook. The meal I ate earlier, the comfy blanket I have wrapped around me, the deep, long breath that allows me to reconnect back to the here and now. Or my shukr expands to my relationships. My beautiful nieces and nephews who revitalize innocence and play back into my life. My clients who show up for themselves every week to reconnect with who they are. Shukr is not limited to my circumstances, but continuously evolving in hopes to honor myself and the things I can control, while joyfully releasing the things I cannot. And taking in the magnificent sights along the way!

As you start to ponder about your gratitude practice, I encourage you to think about engaging in practices that are congruent with who you are. Journaling, meditation, poetry, walks, talking to family or friends, connecting with your higher power, the list is endless! It’s not about how you practice shukr, but the consistency you can create around it. Even having shukr for learning to have shukr is a state of grace that will continue to flourish in your life.

Shukran for allowing Mighty Oaks to be apart of your healing journeys.

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