I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me that she had to pay a hefty percentage of her income in taxes...and that her friends told her she 'should' be grateful...
And my response was "Really? Why the hell would you be grateful for that?!"
Now obviously, as many of you know, I am deeply involved in the Positive Psychology movement and I really work hard in my life AND with my clients to find the constructive perspective--you know, the one that makes us feel empowered and not like a victim. The one that places us squarely in the center of of our own lives, at choice, right now.
But paying over 30% of your income in taxes when you are struggling to make ends meet just sucks. And that's all there is to it. It is not a spiritual failing not to be grateful for that situation...in fact, when we hold the perspective that something is wrong with us because we aren't happy to pay taxes, we merely suffer over our suffering.
Instead, I just gave my friend permission to let that situation suck...and the relief for her was incredible! And then we could laugh ruefully and find out that she was grateful for having the money to pay it, that she was happy to have had the job to earn it, and that she was going to explore using an accountant next time to see if she could get some sound advice and save more in the future.
Once we can admit that we don't have to be perfect--that we're NOT grateful for every single thing that happens to us--we can free up that energy to do something constructive. Once we stop spending time feeling guilty about how we fall short, we can move ahead and work with what we have.
And really, sometimes paying taxes just sucks.