Gratitude is what Thanksgiving is known for—gratitude for family, for friends, for good food, and for holiday celebrations.
This year, 2021, marks 600 years since the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
But our world is much different from the world where Thanksgiving first began.
Gratitude is more important than ever.
For me, gratitude is being able to see the good in the world and to be grateful for it.
It’s easy to see the good in the world when things are going well.
But what do you do on those really hard days where you are facing issues that are truly complicated?
How is it possible to see the silver lining in what may seem like an impossible situation?
It’s all about mindset and where we place our focus.
If we make an honest effort to focus on the overall picture and try to see further down the road, not only will this allow us to see the good, but it will enable us to be grateful for even the hard days.
I had an incident last week that I couldn’t fully resolve.
I hired a company to do some repairs on my home, but the repairmen created an even bigger problem while trying to do the work.
When the owner of the company came to look at the issue caused by his own employees, he was as negative as negative could be the moment he walked through the door.
He instantly declared that his employees were not responsible, and it was my fault, even though it was very clear that the problem was caused by the work that his employees did.
I let him continue on like this for a while, but I knew I had to say something.
As I gathered my composure, I looked at him and said, “I would appreciate it if you would stop being so aggressive. We’re trying to fix a situation here and we need to work as a team to resolve it. There is no reason for you to come into my house and be rude.”
He looked at me in shock. I don’t think he was expecting me to say anything. But I couldn’t let that moment pass me by. He was the owner of the company, and it was important he understood that his actions and words were not professional or even kind.
How did I see the good in that situation?
Well, in the moment, I didn’t. I was very frustrated and shocked by how he was talking to me. But after I spoke my peace, he actually changed his tone of voice. He stopped being so defensive and his employees came back to resolve the issue.
The lesson for me in that situation was the importance of standing my ground in a kind and respectful way. I could have argued right back to him, or I could have been negative and rude myself. I could have started yelling, or been angry. But none of that would have solved the situation. And I’m hoping that the way I interacted with him will help him to interact better with people in the future.
It’s not easy to see the good in every situation. But I have learned that in those difficult moments, expressing gratitude for the things I have learned has become a very powerful and positive force for me.
Psychological research shows that gratitude actually leads to happiness.
Oftentimes, people see things the other way. They think if you’re happy, it’s easy to be grateful. Of course, this is true. But if you’re grateful, it’s much easier to be happy.
We can show gratitude for so many little things throughout our day—even and especially on the tough days. You can be grateful for your family and friends, for your home, for the food you eat and the clothes you wear.
I’m a big fan of evening gratitudes. It’s actually a practice I just started this year. At the end of my day, I think of something or someone I’m grateful for. This has become such an important practice for me.
There are so many different gratitude practices out there that you can start implementing. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time from your day. But just the mindset shift of being thankful for something each and every day will become a positive force for good that will help move you forward.
We each have a choice, even when there are outside factors that play into it. We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to be miserable.
I choose to be happy—especially in situations where other people are miserable, so I can help them to get out of their own misery.
Even when times are tough we all have something to be grateful for.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year because it’s all about family. My whole family is going to be home this year, which makes me very happy. It’s about sharing food with family and friends. It’s about sharing stories together. And it’s about caring for one another.
My youngest daughter recently asked me why the world only focuses on giving thanks just one day a year.
My response to her is that gratitude should be an everyday thing, which is why I do my evening gratitudes. It’s important for us to be thankful even on those days that don’t have a name or a holiday, and especially on those days this it is hard to find something to be grateful about.
My experience is that there is always something to be grateful for. We just have to look for it and train ourselves to see the good that’s already there waiting to be found.