Why I No Longer Believe in Gratitude

Stephan Gardner
5 min readOct 5, 2022

Tonight, someone tried to break into my house. More on that in a minute…

I read books to my son before bedtime. We’re currently reading The Outline of History by H.G. Wells and The Principles of Self Mastery by Napoleon Hill. Not exactly children’s books but well, why not expand from time to time and take on something more challenging than rainbows and flying unicorns.

Tonight though I picked up The Gratitude Effect by Dr. John Demartini. I’ve been heavily influenced by Dr. Demartini’s teachings since 2006, after mildly attempting suicide with a knife, and since then I’ve grown quite a lot and in many different ways.

I remember reading The Gratitude Effect as one of my first books from Dr. Demartini. At the time, it brought tears to my eyes. I devoured every word trying to have them imprint on my soul. I felt that reading these personal development books was key to knowing exactly what I wanted in life and getting it (and helping me overcome a plethora of personal issues that had plagued me since childhood).

So I figured tonight, I’d read a chapter of The Gratitude Effect to my son and see if I could rekindle some fond memories and maybe influence my son with some grateful insights.

I opened the book.

I skipped forward to Chapter 1 and before even speaking the first word, someone tried to break into my house.

Now, I know there are many of you out there that would just think that’s coincidence. I mean, it’s a horrible coincidence… but it’s still just random right? There’s no way that it’s possible that starting to read The Gratitude Effect would be correspondent with some random thief trying to open my front gate.

But that’s what happened. I had the windows open in my son’s room and I heard the gate latch loud and clear.

Next thing, Charlie our 1 year old Springador jumps off the bed and runs out the dog door barking.

Next thing, my wife opening the bedroom door yelling and running up to the gate, only to see car lights disappearing down the street.

Now first off, I’m not surprised. I live in one of the best looking houses in the area I live in. I also have a lot of things in my house that would make prime possessions for a pawn shop. But I also have security cameras, a vast collection of bladed weapons, and a steel mace that with the right velocity would make anyone’s face into Saturday morning pancakes.


For those of you who know Dr. Demartini’s work, you’ll at least give attention to the law of attraction and well, this isn’t the only time that associating with gratitude has well… attracted some opposition. In fact, when I look back on my personal development journey, the longer I stayed attached to gratitude as ‘the way’, the more broken I was as a man.

Broken financially.

Broken spiritually.

Broken physically.

Broke in career.

Broke in mentality.

Broke in family.

Broke in my social life.

Broken all around, because I had become obsessed with gratitude.

And it’s not only me. I notice this again and again with people who chase and addict to gratitude and ‘self-love’ as being the ‘end of all personal development.’ They consistently fail to act in accordance to their own dogma, and they continue to attract madness, chaos, robbery, and attacks.

And I now know the reason. I figured it out back in 2016, when I was horribly schizophrenic and had voices in my head that I wasn’t in control of. I thought I’d lost it — until I paid attention to what those voices were trying to do…

Here’s a point of discovery for yourself. It’s not good to be more grateful than hateful. You need both. You should have a healthy relationship with both, which includes seeing the downsides in gratitude and the upsides to hate. A tall order, to someone who refuses to look, or maybe just doesn’t have a pathway to get it.

I figured out that pathway and it transformed my life. I found a way to appreciate hate, in all it’s directions, and it taught me that sometimes you have to be a predator and you should be fearless in doing so. You are both predator and prey and unfortunately, most people in the personal development space as struggling and suffering trying to be a prey more than the predator and it’s messing up their lives.

This is why I’m going to come out the gratitude closet and say that I no longer believe in gratitude. At least, I no longer believe in polarizing gratitude as being better than it’s opposites, because it’s not. It’s a tool, not a lifestyle, and it should be used when it’s appropriate.

The same is true for hate. I could sit back and be grateful and watch my thief steal my guitars, or I could muster up some damn courage, turn on some hateful predator energy and defend my castle against someone who is apparently out of fair exchange with their reality.

I recognize fair exchange deeply. I pay attention to it more than anything else. It hurts me deeply when I receive something for nothing or give something for nothing, because I know the consequences — if it’s greater to give than to receive, than I just cursed the person I’m giving to.

I also pay attention to universal feedback, and I’ve had enough of it in my life to focus, clearly, on the cause and effect relationship that certain actions create as byproducts. In fact, something I learned from Dr. John which makes complete sense, is that that universe is trying everything it can to help you be authentic. And that’s the point of this blog. I love John and everything he taught me and tonight was no exception. In trying to be grateful, I attracted something to hate — someone breaking into my house.

That’s duality IN ACTION. That’s universal principles. That’s the wonderful law of balance in the universe. That’s also why I gave up on trying to be grateful just because I could be — it just ended up making me more hateful.

That’s my wisdom for you. Give up on trying to be grateful for everything and just start accepting and appreciating the reasons why you might want to be hateful, for something in your life. It might liberate you from it’s bonds and help you move your life forward.

P.S. I’m grateful for the thief because it immediately inspired me to write this blog and get out there with my message in a bigger way. I’m done hiding behind the ‘secret teachings of all these spiritual masters while deciding I’m not one’. I am one and I have something to say and do about it.

Welcome to my work.



Stephan Gardner

I’m a videographer, musician, mindset analyst for people wanting to find more emotional presence, courage, and certainty in their lifestyle.