Common sense suggests, if there is one aspect of the Thanksgiving season that lifts our spirits, it is expressing gratitude.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.
With gratitude, we acknowledge the goodness in our lives and in the process, it connects us to something larger than ourselves — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
Gratitude helps us feel the positive emotions of happiness, and good experiences, which reduces stress and improves health.
We feel and express gratitude in many ways. We can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that we can successfully cultivate further.
Gratitude is for people to appreciate what they have rather than focusing on what they lack.
We’ve dedicated most of this year learning about ourselves: our attitudes; our thoughts; the inner voice; the healer within (placebo and nocebo); the mask, etc. It’s now time to be thankful.
During the holidays, the one person we often forget to share gratitude with and give thanks for is ourselves. Giving thanks to ourselves and nurturing who we are gives us an opportunity to be grateful while reflecting on the personal growth that we’ve made.
Life can be hard and sometimes it’s difficult to feel grateful. It’s easy to focus on the negative. Through the negativity, we can sometimes see small points of light – maybe encouragement through friends or family. However, we often forget to find these ‘points of light’ within ourselves.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar
“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
Take time to appreciate 'YOU'!
Too often we focus on the stuff we’re not capable of doing, which leads us through the cycle of self- doubt that can feed on itself.
Instead, we should spend each day being thankful for the things we can do and love to do. Live our lives with joy, knowing that while we can do better, we can still enjoy the things we value. So, the next time that you are doing something you enjoy doing, stop and think about it and be thankful.
Our relationships can depend upon how we value ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love someone else. If we don’t respect ourselves, how can we make respectable choices. If we don’t value our time, we waste it foolishly.
Some Surprising Quotes
“I Am Grateful For The Mistakes I Have Made.” Anonymous
If we never make mistakes, we would miss out on some of life’s most valuable lessons.
Failure is a great teacher, but only if we learn the lessons that failure teaches.
We may have gone through some tough times over the years, but they have changed many of us for the better.
Another surprising quote:
“Pain is a very precious gift. Do not waste it.” Martha Singleterry
If you are alive, you will experience pain.
The pain of loss. The pain of regret. The pain of guilt. The pain of self-flagellation and self-imposed isolation. The pain of apathy and self-loathing and failure. The pain of not being enough, not doing enough, not giving enough. And, the pain from illness.
We can choose to view the pain of these situations as a blessing or a curse.
No one likes to feel pain. No one likes to feel sadness. Yet pain and sadness are an inevitable part of our lives. It would be great if we could banish them, but we can’t.
“If you stay with the pain and sadness, instead of trying to avoid it, you will learn something important. Sadness softens you. It opens your heart. It helps you appreciate joy when it comes. And pain tells you what is out of balance. It tells you what is not working in your life so that you can make an adjustment, a shift, and come back into balance.” Paul Ferrini, author of Answering the Call of the Soul.
Gratitude for pain doesn’t mean you’re grateful FOR THE PAIN. It means hopefully you can find some gratitude for the experience that caused the pain, and, how you can change your life to better deal with it.
Why does it take a trauma (a death, accident, illness, divorce, etc.) to appreciate and be grateful for everyday experiences – smelling the roses, watching the birds, breathing clean air and the small every day miracles of life.
People with a serious illness struggle with their treatments searching for the positive in their circumstances. The attitude and approach they take each day can make the worst of times better. Illness can teach us what we already know, but we sometimes need a reminder that gratitude has powerful effects and there is always a silver-lining, if we choose to look for it.
How many times have we heard about cancer patients who say their diagnosis was a wake-up call that forced them to re-think their lifestyle and change their values and priorities.
Louise Hay in her book, You Can Heal Your Life, says: “Sometimes what seems to be a big tragedy turns out to become the greatest good in our lives. I learned so much from the experience of cancer and I came to value life in a new way. I began to look at what was really important to me, and I made a decision to change some things in my life.”
After experiencing illness, pain or trauma, we learn to become compassionate and have empathy for those who may be experiencing their own trauma.
Having experienced pain, we can better appreciate and be:
- Thankful for a healthy mind and body that allows us to enjoy our life.
- Thankful for the challenges that helped shape and mold us into who we are becoming.
- Grateful to be blessed with family and friends who love and care about us.
Thanksgiving is a time for us to “count our blessings.” To remember all the things for which we are grateful.
From her book, A Return To Love, Marianne Williamson says:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It’s our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves: ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We’re all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the good that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
An attitude of gratitude is a sure way to achieve good health, happiness and well-being. So, “THANK ME” (YOU), is a great way to begin the rest of our lives!