The Real Thanksgiving
It’s Thanksgiving time! Not that you would know it anymore, since the stores only celebrate Halloween and Christmas. Over the years Thanksgiving has been relegated to – a big dinner, football games, and a shopping preparation day. Just like Christmas, Thanksgiving has lost its meaning in the homes of many.
The original Thanksgiving was more than just a dinner, it was a saving grace. At a time of hardship the pilgrims were met with the generosity and friendship of virtual strangers, or possibly even their enemies. Now hardship for them was very different than what we consider a hardship today. They are in a foreign land, MONTHS away from contact or help of any kind. Winter is coming on, the weather is cold and cruel, the farm land is not the same and food is scarce. Imagine how they must have felt to have someone extend such kindness. Hence the word THANKS-GIVING!
This week has been one of those weeks! Feeling overwhelmed with life, I took a break to hop on Facebook (yes, I have a problem, it’s my main social life). And instantly saw this great reminder.
“Don’t focus on how stressed you are, but how blessed you are.”
I am a stress person, I see it everywhere. I need to train my eyes to see my blessings. A miraculous thing happens when you switch your focus from the negative to the positive; you are overcome with gratitude.
You Have a Choice
In times of hardship we have two choices to focus on. The stress and what’s lacking, or to count our blessings. One of the interesting parts of trial and hardship is that it can bring our blessings into greater focus. Things that we had never really noticed become sources of overwhelming comfort and gratitude when we’re low. A hug from your child on a rough day means more than usual. Having your husband home after being away, or even just a REALLY long day. A clean house when you feel overwhelmed. A small refund check after you’ve had an unexpected bill. But its very easy to miss those blessings when we are seeing things in the half empty view.
Gratitude is certainly an attitude!
In today’s world, especially as we enter the holiday season, the glass is empty philosophy is very prevalent. The whole world seems to point out what we lack, what we need, and how we deserve it. Gratitude is a fast fading virtue. This Thanksgiving, skip the focus on turkey and football, and shift it to your blessings.
How to Develop Gratitude
Like any character trait gratitude is a habit that must be developed through focused and consistent practice. Here are some suggestions from Dr. Robert Emmons.
- Keep a gratitude journal DAILY – it could be a notebook or the gratitude 365 app
- Use visual reminders – pictures or quotes to help remind you
- We had a gratitude wall in college where we hung pictures of what we were grateful for
- As a family we made a poster to help our kids
- Have a friend that can help you out of a funk
- Change your self talk (do some weeding)
What ever you choose to do this Thanksgiving, just remember to focus on your blessings and have a attitude of gratitude.
Read more on the benefits of gratitude here.
What are you doing this Thanksgiving to cultivate gratitude?
Shared with: The Thankful Home Acre Hop –