Thanksgiving (the American holiday where families gather around a big meal and peacefully reflect on what they’re thankful for)…today is the day after—known as Black Friday. This is the exact opposite of Thanksgiving where people go out on their own to aggressively buy new things they want because they’re on sale (Now however, this is mostly done online and no one gets trampled anymore—yay!). So in this time of extremes, let’s take a moment to discover the importance of being thankful.
What does being thankful mean to you? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines thankful as 1. a consciousness of benefit received and 2. expressing thanks. That second one is what I feel most of us generally focus on; Our parents taught us to always thank others and we’ve done so without giving it much thought. Most of the time we say ‘thank you’ throughout the day for minor things, but there are times we desperately need to give thanks to someone because they’ve given us so much. There is a certain strain in receiving…while giving creates a certain type of joy.
Where the second part of the definition is to give thanks, the first part is to live thankfully—and that internal thankfulness is really the more transformative side of the word. If we take the time to appreciate the blessings in our lives, something amazing happens: The perception of our current life situation moves away from the issues, struggles, stresses, and what we want to then move into an intrinsic sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
Now let’s take this a step further: What if we could live thankfully in all circumstances? No matter how fast the pressures of life have us racing, what if we were to maintain the peace received through being thankful? What would that do? In what ways would that change your life? Do you believe that is possible? I believe you don’t have to become a Himalayan Monk to attain that, but it will take some measure of hope, faith, and diligence.