Every year in November our social media feeds go from pictures of pumpkins, lattes, and adorable baby costumes to talk of Gratitude and Thanksgiving. Though I’m grateful that we’ve taken the value of giving thanks and expanded it to the entire month of November, rather than only a single day, I think it may be beginning to lose its meaning. Not because gratitude has lost its luster or impact, but because as consumers, we skip over the thankfulness posts and move on to more eye-catching images that tell us we need more.
But let’s go back to gratitude. What is gratitude? What’s the point? Why is it even valuable?
Traditionally, gratitude is the act of being thankful. However, true gratitude is more than words. It’s more than saying “thank you” or ” I’m thankful for pie.” It’s an attitude. Gratitude is about looking at your life and seeing the gifts you’ve received and naming them.
Ok, but why?
Simple. It changes you.
You see when you truly express thankfulness for something your perspective changes. You go from focusing on the negative thing that might be right in front of you. to looking past the often temporary stressor and seeing the goodness that is hiding behind it.
We can redeem these moments of frustration, stress, sadness, and disappointment by searching for a nugget of goodness. Searching for something to be thankful for despite how we might feel. And do you know what happens? Your heart rate slows a little, your head is a little clearer, and your emotions a little steadier. It can’t take away the hard things, but it can make them feel manageable and bring us back to earth.
Guys, this takes PRACTICE. It is not easy, but a daily choice. The good news? When you do it once, it’s easier to do it twice, three times, again and again. Before you know it, a bitter heart is softened and joy abounds.
So this week, let’s practice gratitude, not simply expressing thankfulness. When you’re stuck in traffic on your way to visit family, find the goodness. ” At least we have good music.” ” Thank God, we’re safe. ” “At least we’ll be together in traffic.”
Instead of griping about the way your spouse accomplishes a task this week, be thankful that they’re doing it.
Do it once, notice the impact. Do it twice, do it three times. Before you know it, you’ve redeemed the meaning of gratitude in your own heart and truly had a thankful Thanksgiving.
Will you join us?