Yes, I am going to talk about thankfulness and gratefulness right after thanksgiving. I know it’s a cliche but sometimes those cliches are there for a reason. It is sad that its only once a year we sit down and talk about what we are thankful for. Shouldn’t we be thankful every day? Sure, crap happens and sometimes that crap is really really bad but chances are that if you are reading this then you are doing a lot better than most of the rest of the world. Unless someone printed this out, smuggled it into to N. Korea, and placed it in the hands of one of the many starving children then you are doing pretty well.
The facts that you have a computer or smartphone, food to get you through the day and clothes so that you don’t look really awkward at work are things to be supremely grateful for. If you have a friend to talk to, a wife or husband to be with, a child to share the day with then you are blessed! Of course things happen that rip the very fabric of our reality like divorce, death, financial ruin and more but when the sun rises again there is reason for thanksgiving. We are humans that were built amazingly well by an amazing God. We are resilient! We are fighters! We are capable of amazing things and one of our most amazing traits is optimism. And optimism grows when you water it with thanksgiving.
Have you ever woken up and just had a terrible attitude? Yeah me neither but lets pretend. Yesterday you checked your bank account and it was less than zero, you screwed up at work and that mistake is going to cost you money and maybe your job. When you fire up social media you see that “all” of your “friends” are posting about the amazing party they went to that you didn’t even know about. I could go on an on with more examples from my life but you get the point. Now, this morning is when you have a decision to make. You can either water those weeds of sadness, pain and bitterness with all of the reasons you are in your situation OR you can pick a few things to be grateful for and start to nourish the seeds of optimism that are tiny and hard to find in those situations but there none the less.
I could go into all the reasons not to focus on the negative and give examples of the rabbit holes I have followed into depression but this is an uplifting blog that is focused on the positive so lets look at that. Ok, its sometime in the morning and your life looks like crap but you have to get up and move forward because… well there are bills to pay, dogs to feed, kids to get to school and all of that. I like to start my morning by picking 3 things I am grateful for and writing them down. Some mornings in my darkest days (and yes I have had some extremely dark days that I am working up the courage to share sometime) it is really hard to find things to be thankful for. My whole world is clouded by negativity and pessimism. On those days I pick the most simple things like… I am grateful that the sun will come up (YES!! It will come up), I am grateful for a bed to sleep in, I am grateful that I woke up this morning. It is important to actually write them down on paper. Physically writing things down makes a major difference in how you relate to your thoughts and how well you remember them. Now that you have 3 things to be thankful for you can move on with your day. It is amazing how focusing on gratitude changes your attitude and how you go about your day. You can look at your problems as challenges to solve instead of weights to hold you down. Instead of your negative bank balance ruining your life you can be thankful that you know where you stand financially and use that reality to make a massive, positive change in your financial life. That big mistake at work isn’t good but be thankful that you know what you did and you can make it right. If you lost your job over it then look at it as an opportunity to pursue the dream you have.
I know this all sounds too good and you might be in a hole of depression that just seems too big but trust me, I have used this tactic to change my days and my life. Maybe you aren’t in a funk, maybe life is just fantastic for you right now. Well then I think you should start the day with thanksgiving too. All too often when things are going well, we just sort of coast. It is when you are riding high that it is easiest to forget to be thankful. That sounds ridiculous but its true. If you make gratefulness a habit you will change your entire view of the world. Here are some quotes that do a better job of describing why gratitude is so important.
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation” - Brian Tracy
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend” -Melody Beattie
I challenge all of you to try this exercise from now until Christmas and just see how it changes your perspective. You might be surprised at how it changes your life!
I am thankful for you all reading this. Why don't you add at least one thing you are thankful for in the comments below and share this around. The world needs more thanksgiving!