Last year, we talked about how November is the perfect time to reflect upon what filled up your calendars throughout the year. We envisioned families talking about it around the table at Thanksgiving time. Most of us would say this year was mostly ugly and with not a whole lot of good. Do you look back and evaluate how thankful you were throughout the year? Not just for the good that happened, but all of it? It’s a little harder to do that at the end of 2020!
Even so, cultivating an attitude of gratitude as a lifestyle will positively alter the way you respond to life’s unpleasant events. Whether it’s a year like the blissfully unaware 2019 or like a painful 2020, we all have a choice in the way we react.
The trip-ups and failures of life you experience can be counted as joy, knowing that what you gain from it will transform you into the oak tree you desire to be in life: standing firm and not easily shaken or moved. We can be thankful for the events that shape us into resilient people.
Yes, being grateful is the key to your growth, maturity, and even your happiness. Write down all the things in life for which you have to be thankful. Keep a running list. Count them up!
When life hits you in the face, there are two ways you can respond. The first and easiest way is to react when your blood boils, fervently lashing out without first thinking it through. We both know that isn’t the wisest move, as justified as you may feel to act that way.
The better process is to sift the situation through the filter of thankfulness. For example, say you are driving behind someone who is going too slowly. I see it every day: the tailgating, swerving left and right from behind to let them know they are in the way and honking to inform, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are annoyingly slow.
Don’t be that person. Here are some thoughts to think about that will set you on a course to leading a thankful life and changing the way you respond to the driver in front of you, as well as your coworkers, family, and friends.
First, perhaps they have a medical problem and can’t move quickly. Could the driver be having an awful day? Be thankful that you have an opportunity to give that person some space. Where others may crowd, you can be the one person that day that shows them some kindness. It’s a different, selfless, and others-focused mindset.
Next, think – are they at least doing the speed limit? If so, you can’t fault them for that. Besides, they may be keeping you from impending doom up ahead! Be thankful that maybe you were saved from disaster, and leave a smidge earlier next time.
I pick on driving because it’s where I see daily the most unnecessary rage toward others. When drivers possess thankfulness, suddenly, these minor inconveniences don’t matter much.
The more intentionally you work on thankfulness in your life, the quicker you will find your responses automatically becoming more grace-filled toward others. The road is just one place to practice gratitude and graciousness. Keep a running list of all the beautiful things in your life. You will gradually see a difference in how you respond to people around you and life’s mishaps. Happy Thanksgiving!