A Word about Gratitude
What a wonderful holiday it is! Thanksgiving!
It may be my favorite. No pressure to buy gifts. All we have to do is visit and eat and watch ball games (and eat).
Of course, travel can be stressful as can be meal preparation. Also, being with people who we are normally not around involves its own stresses. But overall, it is a great time of celebration with a profound focus: Gratitude!
We don’t need to be reminded that, in our consumer society, one of the most obvious and persistent themes from advertisers is: “You do not have enough.”
Think about it, your car is not good or new enough, the clothes you wear must be upgraded, along with your house. Add to that your cell phone, your cell phone service, your computer, your television set, your dog food and every other aspect of your existence. You are seriously lacking. You just don’t measure up!
These messages are repeated to us over and over, day after day, year after year. The focus of consumerism is: “There are so many things you deserve and do not have. It really isn’t fair.”
One simple way to offset those misguided and self-defeating messages? Gratitude!
Often, as I am counseling someone struggling with depression, I will assign homework to be done away from the office. I want that person, every day, to write down five things or people for which they are truly, deeply thankful.
Done consistently, this assignment will help shift their attention away from what they do not have to what they do have.
Try it. It will not be difficult, and I think this simple exercise can have a dramatic impact upon the way you look at your life and what you allow yourself to dwell on.
Do you see yourself as deprived or blessed? Have you been cheated out of what you think you deserve, or are you truly privileged? Despite your losses and your pains, are you able to recognize and acknowledge how genuinely wonderful your life is?
I hope you have a delightful Thanksgiving week.
I also hope you will enjoy the following “Thanksgiving Song” as sung by Mary Chapin Carpenter: