Like the name says, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. And today, as you enjoy your fabulous feast surrounded by family and friends, you will probably agree that we have a lot to be thankful for. It’s easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving. However, we have to find a way to take that gratitude into the other 364.25 days of the year.
There is always something to be thankful for. It’s so easy to focus on things that are not going right or on the things that we don’t have. Even though it’s harder, we have to make the effort in those times, to remember that there are a significant amount of things that are going right (often more than is going wrong). And for those things, we should be thankful.
I talked to a young man the other day who really and truly thought that every single problem he had, and would ever have, would be cured by money. There are so many things that young man could have been grateful for but the only thing he could see was all the money he didn’t have.
He couldn’t see that he had his health, a sound mind, supportive friends and family. He had his youth; he had a future ahead of him. He had nice clothes on his back and a home to return to at the end of the day.
When I mentioned these things to him, he just brushed them off. The clothes weren’t the ones he wanted. His home was still with his family and he was tired of them. He thought having health and a sound mind were laughable. Besides, he didn’t have a car; he had to ride the bus.
Most of us do the same thing. We don’t appreciate what we have because it’s not exactly what we want. We live in a state of perpetual covetness and longing. We wonder why she got the job. We agonize over why he seems to ‘get all of the breaks.’ We look at the happy couple on their wedding day and think, “Why isn’t that me?” What a way to live!
Gratitude isn’t settling for less. You need to continue to work towards your dreams and your goals but enjoy where you are and what you have right now. Gratitude is the key that will release you from a number of stressors and frustrations. That same key also unlocks a secret source of happiness and contentment. When you lose the frustrations and the complaints, you lift a weight off of your chest that makes room for more gratitude and all of the goodness that comes with it.