Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for Being Thankful

I wanted to write a Thanksgiving post different from the one I wrote last year, and as I wracked my brain to think of what I am most appreciative of this season, it occurred to me that it’s my ability to appreciate that feels most valuable.

It is so incredibly easy to focus on the deficiencies in our lives. To zero in on what we don’t have yet or what is going wrong. We can take things for granted on a daily basis, lamenting the fact that we don’t have as much money as we’d like or we’re not driving the kind of car we want or we haven’t reached a certain life milestone—all the while, ignoring the fortune we enjoy with good health, good friends, roofs over our heads, clothing on our bodies.

It is so easy to always be thinking about that next thing instead of savoring the moment and being thankful for what we have right now. It takes work to be grateful. Or maybe it just takes time and reconditioning.

At the end of 2004, I was miserable in my job, hopelessly single and feeling like I’d lost my direction in life. I started keeping a gratitude journal and it was amazing how much it helped me to force myself to stop and think about all the positives.

Four years later, I’ve honed the skill. I no longer keep a journal, but I do remind myself often just how good I have it. When I start feeling the darkness creep into my mind, I try to switch on the light. When one door closes I remind myself that another door will surely open—and what's behind it could be better than what I had before. When my thoughts wander to an area of lack, I make an effort to seek out other areas of abundance.

And so this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for this ability. The ability to see the good.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Please help me remember to talk about this topic with you on Saturday at breakfast. I can't wait to see you! hugs, K

Wow, that was awkward said...

I irritate many people with this same ability. Which makes me feel even better about it.

Amy Turpin said...

I love this blog - the idea of a gratitude journal is awesome. I think I am going to start one. THANK YOU for helping me to focus more daily on the things I am thankful for!!!

geekhiker said...

Very well written post. It's a concept we've discussed before, and I've put some thought into it. Too much to squeeze into a tiny little comment.

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Michael C said...

Perfectly said! It's nice to have the ability to be thankful and recognize what all there is to be thankful for...and for elastic waste bands on Thanksgiving Day. Hope you had a great day!!

The Coconut Diaries said...

Well, hell! I was about to write a whole post on how I was jealous that my cousin had (and knew how to use!) all these fancy-schmancy kitchen gadgets to make Thanksgiving dinner for 21 people but not now...

So I am thankful that my family lives like they are Top Chef contestants, thankful that I got to witness powerful traditions, and thankful that you kept me from writing a selfish post (at least for today)