It’s Thanksgiving Day today.
I only usually realise on the day.
As it tends not to register here in Europe.
We have instead taken on the whole Black Friday thing with relish these last few years.
Which seems a pity.
We’ve ignored a festival devoted to giving thanks, and embraced a chance to shop instead.
Hey-ho. Though I wonder if we’re inherently squeamish about the giving thanks for things thing anyway.
Whenever I share ideas about ‘the power of gratitude’, there’s some reluctance… and I’ve been pondering this today.
If I suggest that you do a ‘gratitude journal’, many of you will make the motion of putting your fingers in the back of your throat.
In fact, I would too.
It just feels too… earnest, twee.
So I’ve got two things to say on this Thanksgiving Day which may help you square this particular circle
- Giving thanks is brilliant. And it works. It moves your attention from what isn’t working, to what is, from what you don’t have, to what you have, from all that’s wrong with life, to all that’s right. And who can argue with that? It’s great for the brain and our general well-being too. And there’s plenty of research on that. So to occasionally or frequently give thanks for stuff in your life is a great habit, that, if you don’t have, you should try to nurture, starting today, Thankgiving Day.
- Giving thanks should not mean ignoring what’s difficult and rubbish about our lives. There’s a danger that if we jump wholeheartedly into the positivity and gratitude pool, with fixed grin in place, that we suppress all the shadow stuff in our lives. Yes, life can be rubbish, we can get tossed around, things are sometimes unfair, there are times we’ll feel like sh*t… And to FEEL those feelings, to go with that flow, when it flows that way, is a good thing.
It means, if you’re grumpy, go with the grumpy.
But also, when the time feels right, give some thanks for what is working in your life.
It means being able to be at both extremes, sometimes on the same day (maybe this day, Thanksgiving Day)…
To be fully feeling the difficulty of it all, in the cracks of life.
And to be grateful for the beauty you know is there, also in the cracks.
And if that makes, today, for a Grumpy Thanksgiving, with some grumpiness, and some thanks giving, then GREAT, you got it (as they might say, Stateside).