Many reasons to give thanks
This is the time of the year I am supposed to write a Thanksgiving column.
Hmmm. So much to be thankful for — health (that always ranks first, especially as I turn older and wiser, although maybe not in that order), friends, two great daughters, employment, a roof over my head, wheels under my feet, etc.
I am constantly reminded of how good I have it. In my free time, I communicate with people all over the globe. There is one constant in all of these conversations, all of these people — whether living in Australia, Russia, the United Kingdom or Ghana — all yearn to live in the United States.
Several have said it is their dream country. That makes me feel fortunate indeed. Although this country isn’t what it was when I was growing up, it still remains the best country in the world. That being said, I do not agree with politicians who say our best days are ahead of us. I think our best days are behind us. But this is no time for a philosophical discussion.
Instead, I am going to turn this over to Bryan Golden. Several times a year, I use his words because, frankly, they are better than anything I can come up at this time.
Thanksgiving is much more than a big meal with family and friends. It’s a time to reflect on, and be thankful for, all of the good things you have. Even with all of the uncertainty and turmoil in the world, you have so much to be thankful for. It’s important to be grateful, not just on Thanksgiving, but each and every day. Rather than lamenting what you feel is lacking in your life, begin each new day by developing an attitude of gratitude. Take inventory of your blessings and you will be surprised at just how much you have to be thankful for.
If you have enough to eat, a place to live, a way to get around, people who care about you, or people you care about, then you are wealthy. If you lack any of these elements, you must still be grateful for what you do have, while striving to obtain whatever is absent.
Focus on all positive aspects of your life. Take nothing for granted. Every morning, recharge your appreciation. Be happy for everything there is, not upset over what you feel is missing.
Dreams of the future shouldn’t diminish appreciation for the present. If all you do is concentrate on what you want, you won’t enjoy today. Don’t be jealous of others; what they do or have has no bearing on you.
You can feel bitter or resentful for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you feel something is missing from your life, things aren’t going your way, or you have been treated unfairly. You may wonder, “why do these things always happen to me?”
Life’s problems tend to dominate your thoughts, turning your focus to what you feel is wrong. You may start to resent those who appear to be better off. You’re apt to dwell on things you think would make your life better if you had them. If only you had more money, more time, a bigger house, a different car, a different job, a different boss, had picked a different career, etc.
Once your attitude becomes one of deficiency instead of abundance and appreciation, you can become overwhelmed by feelings of frustration and feel like a victim. As this happens, a consuming vicious cycle starts.
Being bitter or resentful blows situations out of proportion. People who are bitter frequently find that their situations deteriorate and their mental and physical health decays.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve your goals while you are bitter or resentful. Regardless of what challenges might befall you, bitterness makes finding solutions much more elusive.
There is no point to feeling bitter since it accomplishes nothing, harms you and makes things worse. Filling yourself with gratitude on a daily basis makes you feel good, while driving out negative feelings.
Begin your practice of gratitude each morning as soon as you wake. Every day is a great day. If you have any doubts, try missing one. Take inventory of everything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that is good in your life.
If it helps, make a written list of all things you are grateful for. Read your list every day. As you do this, you will build and reinforce your attitude of gratitude. Don’t waste any time with what you feel you don’t have.
Keep things in perspective. Consider all the people who have overcome difficulties far worse than yours. Don’t be consumed by your problems, there is always a solution. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude allows your mind to devise a resolution for your circumstances.
Make everyday a day of Thanksgiving and you will be amazed how much better your life will become.
Golden is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.” He also is a self-development expert, syndicated columnist, and professor.