Thanksgiving & Gratitude

As we Americans sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with family and/or friends, many of us go around the table and say what we’re thankful for this year. Everyone tends to say something like family or friends or good health. Don’t get me wrong, those are good answers.

So, you’re probably thinking, “What’s her point?” My point is the difference between being thankful one day of the year to being thankful everyday. I’ve been trying to live a life of gratitude this past year or so. Just for me. I’m not posting it on Facebook, I’m not generally posting it here. I haven’t even told my friends about it. It’s just for myself.

Living a life of gratitude changes things. Yes, I am thankful for my family and friends. Health isn’t great, but it could be a lot worse. But, the little things, those things that seem fleeting are the ones that make me the most grateful and thankful.

Things like:

  1. The man who told me that I made his day on the day I wore my “I stand with Standing Rock” tshirt (that is the name of the Sioux tribe fighting the pipeline running thru their land).
  2. My adorable niece, who hasn’t always been super cuddly, ran down the hall to hug me yesterday and then snuggled with me quite a bit of the day.
  3. My sweet nephew, who wasn’t feeling good yesterday, was for most of the day, the same cheery little guy he always is.
  4. Having a friend who picks up little things at the dollar store just because they might make me smile.
  5. The patron who every time I see him says that it’s a good day because he got up and is breathing.
  6. My co-workers who are always so helpful when I, or anyone else, needs a shift covered.

These little things, these are the things I think about when the depression tries valiantly to tell me that there’s nothing to live for.

It helps me remember in times of political turmoil, like now, that there IS good in the world, in our neighbors and even in strangers. It makes it easier to weather the storm.

I’d like to challenge each of you to start living a life of gratitude. It’s life-changing. All you have to do is find at least one thing everyday that makes you thankful/grateful to be living the life you’re living. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be as small as being thankful someone held the door when your hands were full. It could be seeing someone’s flowers and admiring the beauty. You don’t have to share these things with anyone if you don’t want to. Or if you want to, share it with your friends and family.

For me, it took me about a month to really see any difference in my life. It became easier to see the good in the day, the little things that matter most. I’m not “cured” of my depression or anything. I certainly still have rough days, but the majority of the time, I’m happier than I’ve been most of my life.

Try it for yourself and see.

Happy Thanksgiving to Americans! And Happy Thursday to the rest of the world!

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