To all Canadians (and everyone, really, even if today isn’t your Thanksgiving Day or if you don’t celebrate it at all), Happy Thanksgiving!
For all my little woes and complaints, I know that I am insanely blessed. I have so much to be thankful for, and while I do try to always be grateful, I know I don’t always succeed.
I believe that gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that people have in their arsenal-for-life, and yet it is sadly underused. Our culture has replaced feeling grateful with feeling like entitled. Instead of “I am so blessed,” it’s just “I deserve this.” Entitlement robs gratitude’s power. Being grateful is a wonderful feeling; it lifts us up. But when you feel you deserve something, it can only tear you down, because if you deserve it and you get it, well, whatever, but if you deserve it and you don’t get it, it’s a terrible thing.
There is another lost aspect to gratitude too; we shouldn’t only be grateful for obviously good things.
When I was younger, I struggled a bit with being depressed. One of the things that helped me turn that around was gratitude. Every night, before I went to sleep, I thought of two good things that I was grateful for, and then two bad things that I was grateful for. This forced me to change my perspective, because if nothing else, we learn from the bad things in our lives. Sometimes those bad things are even serendipitous, and because of them, we find ourselves in good situations we wouldn’t otherwise have been in.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think some things happen for no reason (not everything happens for a reason), but if they’re bad, do they have to be all bad? If we focus on the good, if we try to be grateful, then we can learn so much, and over time, life will become a happier, better thing. I could link to innumerable studies supporting the power of positive thinking, but I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard of them.
So I know I, for one, am taking a moment to count my blessings and be thankful for each and every one. What do you think, readers? Have I overrated gratitude, or do you think there’s something to this? Let me know in the comments!