The topic of being grateful is one that I feel is so vital, that I touch on it in every one of my seminars and workshops. I call it the Attitude of Gratitude. It's a way of thinking that impacts your whole life. Not just for one day a year but all 365. Whether I am speaking to children, parents, teens, couples, or co-workers, gratitude is a topic that has the power to change the attitude and atmosphere of a relationship. Any relationship. And even the way we think and feel about ourselves. Of course, this seems to be the perfect time of year to blog about it. In fact, I think you might be a little disappointed in me if I blogged about anything BUT thankfulness this close to the holiday with Thanks in its title.
Thanksgiving is a time for families and feasting and while the commercialized version of the holiday spawned from football and kicking off the Christmas season, let's take it back to what WE have come to celebrate Thanksgiving for. Being thankful and giving thanks.
You know, this isn't just a once a year thing, though. You could get those warm fuzzy feelings all throughout the year. In fact I encourage it. When we put on a thankful attitude, it takes the edge off of the negative things that are thrown at us on a daily basis. The harsh realities of life don't sting nearly as bad when we can reflect how good we really have it. How "easy", by comparison, our lives really are. There is and always will be someone that is worse off than we are or have a more difficult life. Having an attitude of gratitude makes our hard times a little easier to get through.
Tell them. Show your appreciation. Literally, Give. Thanks. It's something that we take for granted. People do nice things for us all the time and we pay little attention to it. Make it your habit to show thanks. And when someone shows you grace, or forgiveness or an unexpected kindness, make sure they know that you know. This is often overlooked in the home and the workplace, but when you change your perspective, and take the extra time to see that there are good people around you doing nice things let them know you appreciate it. Even if the nice thing wasnt' for you! If you "catch" someone being nice to someone else, acknowledge their kindness and thank them for it.
Look at it this way. When you do something nice for someone, and they are sincerely grateful if they let you know it, you are more likely to do nice things for them again in the future. Because it feels good to be appreciated. And so it goes, back to the old rule "you reap what you sow" "you get what you give". Give thanks and more will be given to you to be thankful for.
Keep Score! Having a tough time getting started? Just try and thank ten people for something every day. Let the words just come out of your mouth. It may feel awkward at first, but soon, you'll find yourself being thankful for even the tiniest things.
If you are having find yourself running out of people to thank, start texting! Emailing! Snail mail! Mom is an easy one, you could just thank her for being "mom". Thank your co-workers for their great job! Thank your friends for just being there. Thank your family for years and years of putting up with you. Thank our soldiers for keeping us safe and letting us live a life of freedom.
When it's all said and done and you have a few months of ten thank-you's a day, let me tell you, that feels pretty good. It gives you a glimpse at the "bigger picture" when you are thankful for all the paint brush strokes it took to create it. Just try it. You'll thank me later!
Being thankful is to take the time to realize all the wonderful things you have in your life. Right down to the air in your lungs, the blood pumping through your veins and even the sun shining in the sky.
It is so easy for us to be harsh with ourselves and the world around us. We have grown into a bitter and judgmental society. We complain about the things we don't have and it never seems like we have enough. When you look at life in that way, it's true, you WILL never have enough. But for all the things you think you are lacking, what someone else would gladly give for the things that you have and don't appreciate. The shoes on your feet. The roof over your head. The food that you're throwing away because you just can't eat another bite.
So when you look at yourself in the mirror and focus on all your flaws take just a moment to think of how lucky you are to have a body that functions and takes you places. How you're home may not have the finest furnishings but it keeps you warm and safe. How you may have to eat the same left-overs for the third day in a row, but you have food to eat to keep you healthy.
I am certainly not trying to paint a morbid picture here. Quite the opposite. So many people think that it has to be something big before we can feel thankful- a huge spread of food on that chilly November holiday, a big promotion, a new purchase- but it's the little things. Every day.
You are a wonderful person and there are so many wonderful things about you that I bet you forget about it. I am thankful that you are who you are so I can just concentrate on being lil ol me. Appreciate you. Appreciate your talents and skills and personality. Be thankful that you have gotten this far in life and that you have faced any number of trials and tribulations to make you who you are today. I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you have found me and are reading my works and have allowed me to touch your life in whatever capacity. You be thankful for you, too. Because without you, someone would be very sad.
And while you are rolling your eyes and checking your watch while your in-laws quibble, or your grandpa falls asleep on the couch and snores, or your crazy uncle wants to tell you about his newest, greatest... thing; while your aunt wants to love and kiss on you with her slobbery lips and while the conversation may bore you to tears, remember; these are your people. Your family. This is where you come from. Find something- even if you have to dig deep- to appreciate about them. Keep looking. It's there. They are the only family you have. And no one lasts forever. Find it. Appreciate it for yourself and then... tell them.
Keep Score! As you lay your head down on your comfy pillow tonight take a moment to think of all the things you can be thankful for. The big things, the little things even the tiniest of things. Change your perspective. See the world as a place that's always trying to do good for you and to you!
While I am grateful for this once a year reminder I am hopeful that it jumpstarts your perspective to be thankful and give thanks every day. (Oh yes, and you know that the "Give love, get love every day of every year" is coming for the next whopper of a holiday, so hold on to your hearts, cause it's-a comin!)
In the meantime friends, have a wonderful, healthy, happy, fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday!!
You're turn! What are you thankful for? What can you give thanks for that you didn't notice before? How can you change your perspective at the workplace, at school or at home to be more thankful?
Please share and comment below!
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