A Different Type of Thanksgiving
Bit has become abundantly clear that the way we are celebrating holidays this year has changed. We are doing many things, cooking, exchanging gifts, sharing meals, laughter, and enjoying ourselves and our families at a distance, over screens, and at home by ourselves or with our immediate loved ones. Traveling out of state or out of the country, for some of us, is an unfeasible possibility in an effort to keep ourselves, our families, and strangers we may not know but travel alongside safe.
With those thoughts in mind, it may be difficult to really feel the theme of gratefulness and gratitude that we feel when celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Years together with our loved ones. That distance may feel large and looming if we haven’t seen or celebrated with our families in months, or even years.
There are plenty of things that you can do to show gratitude for your family, for yourself, and for the many things you may or may not have without having to meet up in person to do them, and giving yourself the tools you need to find gratitude in a time where it might be difficult to have any.
When we think of gratitude, we probably think of being grateful for what we have or have been given, at least I know I have. I often do not think about being grateful to give or gift someone something. Giving is a great way to show gratitude because we are creating gratefulness and thankfulness in someone else. Giving can be something as simple as giving a friend or family member a gift that they’ve desired for a while. Or, you can go outside of the box, and donate a holiday meal, donate to smaller charities or larger ones if you so choose. Even paying it forward and purchasing coffee or a meal for the person behind you in line can make you feel grateful!
Writing and journaling are powerful tools for healing, which is why writing down what you are grateful for on a regular basis, can be daily, can be weekly, is so helpful in instilling gratitude within you when it is difficult to feel or find any. The gratitude journal can be as simple as a list of things you are grateful for in that moment, can be for your family members, or waking up, or you can take it bigger. You can write about spiritual things you are grateful for, people, modern amenities, changes that have happened this year, changes that didn’t happen this year, or anything you wish. Doing this consistently will have a positive effect on your levels of gratitude.
Making gratitude a small part of your spiritual practice through meditations and mindfulness is a way to integrate that feeling of gratitude everywhere. Meditations do not have to be long affairs unless the spiritual work you are trying to accomplish requires it. A gratitude meditation take anywhere between five to ten minutes of time, and it can simply be a mantra, or a short list of things you’re grateful for recited in your sacred space.
Learning to Accept/Give a Compliment
Finally, learning to simply give and receive a compliment is a primary way of feeling grateful. Often, when we accept a compliment, we sometimes more often than not, temper it with a compliment for a person giving it to us. That is often seen as nice, but it can also be a way to divert the attention from ourselves and what people are grateful for within us, to someone or something else. The next time someone gives you a genuine compliment, simply say ‘thank you’. In turn, when you see something that someone does, or someone that you care for, and are grateful for them, express that gratitude with a compliment. You’ll find that verbally expressing your gratitude with a compliment makes you feel grateful, too!