We are back to the month November; the month where we have a holiday to be thankful. Thanksgiving is a symbol of the European Colonists and the original American Indians sharing a feast together at Plymouth Plantation in 1621. It became an annual tradition for many years, and in 1863 during the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national holiday of Thanksgiving. Today, we celebrate with parades, food drives and charity events, football games and giving thanks around the dinner table.
Why do we only think of our blessings and give thanks in November? Doesn’t it make you feel good when you realize what you have? Doesn’t it make others feel good, when you say thank you and show appreciation for what they have done? If we intentionally surround ourselves with thankfulness and positivity, those attributes will come back to us. That’s why I chose the quote for this month- we don’t want to just give thanks once a year, but we want to live in a spirit of thankfulness all year. We could have that love and kindness in our spirit all the time and November would just be a month where everyone else joins you!
But how can you live in thankfulness all year? I believe it must be intentional- you have to make a conscious choice to count your blessings. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me:
- Say a structured daily prayer to focus the small things. Be grateful for waking up in the morning, having friends or family to spend time with, being able to walk and read and speak. We don’t realize how important and critical these simple things are until we lose them. If you don’t pray- try meditation!
- Appreciate others. See the small things they do right, and let them know! It is much easier to be critical than positive, and it takes many more compliments to outweigh a criticism. If you must criticize- do so constructively in an effort to help them.
- Stay humble. You aren’t perfect, and neither is anyone else. People will open up more if they feel like they can relate to you, and it is hard to relate to someone who thinks they are better than everyone.
- Choose your friends wisely. Your friends (and partner) go a long way to affect your attitude. People will either lift you up, or bring you down. Choose well.
- For many people who are going through a rough time, they only want one thing from you; your time. They may want you to listen, or help, or just be there. If you are present and showing you care, it can change their rough time to manageable. Or better. Treat our fellow human beings with kindness and respect, and the world will be sure that is what will be returned to you.
Thankfulness can come in many ways; it is certainly not words alone. Make it part of your lifestyle, your attitude, your community. You will likely end up with even more to be thankful for, and it will spill into others’ lives.
You can start by joining us for the next Chicktime event at Casa! We are having a gratitude workshop and Thanksgiving feast. The very talented Kristel will be joining us again to paint beautiful works of art on canvas; come and let your creativity out! Please RSVP to Joann at firstname.lastname@example.org if you will be able to join. I sincerely hope to see you there- tell me how you live intentionally, and what you are grateful for! I can’t wait.