Wednesday, November 26, 2014

COMMENTARY: Give Thanks...Out Loud

10 Reasons to Share Your
Thanks over Thanksgiving Dinner

This year, instead of spending time worrying about the upcoming family brawl, the afternoon football games, or arguing about who had the best float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, consider starting a new Thanksgiving tradition.  Whether you are dining at home with your family of four, enjoying an enormous potluck with 42 relatives at the neighborhood church, or simply having a solitary meal on this day, consider taking a moment to contemplate the good things in life for which you are thankful.  And then say them out loud.

Here are 10 reasons to share what you’re thankful for over Thanksgiving dinner:

1. It’s THANKSgiving.  Yes, I know the holiday is supposed to be about some pilgrims and stuff, but the reality is, sometimes we need to be reminded to be thankful for what we have.  And if anyone needs a reminder to do it, this is the day!

2. Make it more than just about the food.  I love to eat as much as the next person, but it can be uncomfortable for some people when a holiday is so focused on food, particularly if they are on any kind of a restricted diet.  It’s nice to have something to look forward to other than just the turkey. 

3. Practice makes perfect.  Saying thank you takes practice.  Sometimes a LOT of practice.  Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to practice being appreciative of the things we have.  And maybe, just maybe, it will help us remember to say thank you during the rest of the year. 

4. Focus on the positive. It’s easy to get bogged down with the negativity of life.  Spending too much energy worrying about the bad stuff happening, either in our small world or in the larger world around us, is a real downer.  Too often, we get sucked into focusing on disappointments and anger and fear, and we forget to appreciate the love and laughter and security we have.  Saying what we are thankful for out loud helps to refocus our energy on the positive in our life instead of the bad.  Remember the phrase “What you focus on expands”.

5. Don’t take the little things for granted.  Wow, can you believe how much we take for granted in society today?  We have a roof over our heads, clothing to wear, food to eat, clean water to drink, and so much more!  Sometimes we forget that there are many people in other parts of the world who have none of those things.  We expect to have those things; it’s not even a question.  Giving ourselves a moment to stop and think about what we are thankful for might just remind us to appreciate the barest necessities of life that we do tend to take for granted.

6. Go a little deeper. We certainly live in a ME-ME-ME world.  With the “look at me” selfies, the “look how clever I am” status updates, and the “look how popular I am” friend lists, we tend to get (and give) instant gratification for doing, saying or photographing something noteworthy.  I love a funny meme as much as the next gal, but when was the last time you really sat down and thought about what you find enjoyable or entertaining?  Taking a few moments before this holiday meal to really think about what you are glad to have in your life will take you just a few steps deeper into yourself than your usual daily LOL or ROFLMAO.

7. Make someone else feel good.  Okay, I’m going to admit something a bit uncomfortable here.  I am a bit of a narcissist (aren’t we all, really?)  I love being told that I’m loved.  And I love being told that someone is grateful to have me in their life.  Taking the time to give appreciation for a person you care about is time VERY well spent (even if it means the turkey might be getting cold). 

8. Create some memories.  One of my favorites was when my daughter’s pre-school teacher told me they had asked the children what they were most thankful for.  My daughter’s response?  “Mom’s homemade pizza”.  The teacher thought it was funny and shared it with me.  It made my day then, and even now it makes me smile. 

9. Let those sharing this day get to know you better.  Many people really just keep to themselves and are difficult to get to know.  Using this opportunity to share something that we are personally appreciative of allows those sharing this day get to know us just a little bit better.  And it lets us get to know them a bit better, as well.

10. Because it feels good!  Yes, it’s true.  Saying out loud what you appreciate makes you feel GOOD.  Take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to feed your soul, allow yourself to be surrounded by peace, and just appreciate the poetry that IS gratitude.

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