Gratitude without Attitude
Thanksgiving is a single day to reflect on all we are thankful for, after we have stressed about our plans for the holiday and before we knock each other over to go shopping the following day. While it’s beneficial to have a marked day on the calendar in which we collectively give thanks, why not cultivate more gratitude all year long?
Let’s just start with being more grateful during this holiday season, when it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Social media, ads on television and clever marketing want us to believe that we are competing for who’s life is better. Or at least portrayed and perceived to be better. It’s curious when someone you know is not having a wonderful holiday season yet their social media tells a story of a Norman Rockwell painting. There is wisdom to be found in the idea that rather than comparing our social media stories to one another, perhaps the real story is posting and comparing our google searches.
Compelling idea isn’t it?
So if comparison isn’t the secret to happiness, perhaps gratitude could be. Start small, like being grateful for your morning tea or coffee ritual. We take for granted the chain of those responsible for allowing us to consume and even have access to our favorite daily treat, even the barista that makes our perfect beverage.
We also underestimate the power of gratitude, especially when it comes to recognizing one another. One of the most powerful exercises you can do with your family, friends, significant other, even colleagues, is to share what you are grateful for in one another. Maybe that is the new ritual for the holiday season?
Make a habit of acknowledging at least to yourself what you are appreciative of, progressing to telling those around you. How many exchanges and interactions do we have a week where we aren’t even looking the person in the eye when we thank them for something? Do we randomly offer something admirable we notice about another person, or do we go about our day, caught up in our own thoughts and ego?
With practice, cultivating and sharing gratitude becomes a rewarding habit, building mindfulness and shocking us into the present moment. Surprising things happen when you take the time to be grateful and share your gratitude with someone else. There is a chain reaction, and we feel a little more connected to the bigger picture beyond ourselves. If that is not the spirit of the season beyond the shopping, stress, family fighting and cooking, what would be?
Make room this season to recognize all that you have and not what’s missing. Your holiday will be more joyful with a honed ability to feel and express more gratitude. Happy holidays!