At a time when many people have seen better times, it’s easy to look at a day called “Thanksgiving” and scoff. To wonder: What do I have to be thankful for?
For years, I misunderstood gratitude. I thought it was about feeling grateful for the gifts around me. But when I didn’t feel I had anything to be grateful for, I wondered what was wrong with me.
Now, I get it: You can’t have thanks; you can only give it. (Feel free to tweet that.)
Gratitude is a discipline
The more you practice feeling grateful, the more grateful you become.
Gratitude is a muscle you strengthen through daily use — an exercise, not an emotion. It’s not something you feel, but something you do.
And like most things, the people who are best at it are the ones who do it even when they’re tired and worn out and don’t much feel like it.
So what does this mean for you? I don’t know…
Listen: I can’t tell you what you have to be thankful for; only you know that. (And frankly, if I did, I wouldn’t want to; that’d be pretty presumptuous.)
However, I am confident that you have the same opportunity we all have today: to give thanks or not. To choose to see a few gifts hidden in that life of yours. To use your gratitude muscle or let it lie dormant.
If you do, you may surprise yourself. You may find, as others have, that the more you utter the words, “thank you,” the more gratitude that pours out. It’s a funny thing. But sometimes the right attitude doesn’t come until you show up to do the work.
Go be grateful
If you’re up for a little challenge, do something counter-cultural today.
When most people are looking for someone to blame for their current state of affairs, be different. Don’t sit around waiting for gratitude to come. Instead, give thanks.
Without prompting or pushing, find something to be thankful for. Speak it, and believe it. Then watch that gratitude muscle grow.
What do you have to be grateful for? Share in the comments.