Thanksgiving is just days away and Christmas is right around the corner. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, you are likely to run across something about being grateful this time of year. This is the time of year when people remind us to be grateful and thankful for what we have.
Gratitude means being grateful, thankful, appreciative. What does that mean anyway? To me it means to be satisfied with what you have no matter how little it may be. I remember the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar talking about being grateful when he was told his plane would be delayed for hours. The person behind the counter was baffled and his response was something like it’s raining outside, and I am inside, in a warm building with a place to sit, access to food to eat and water. He was in good health, had breath in his body and could walk to the gate. Those are all little things that many of us take for granted.
Here Zig talks about his “wall of gratitude” that reminds him of people who have poured things into his life that he is grateful for:
I think being thankful, grateful and appreciative is something we need to work out. So many people are unhappy and I think some of it comes from the subliminal messages in the advertising we see that says “you want more, you need more, more, more, more.” There’s a phone ad I keep seeing that says “we know you want more.” Our food commercials say more, and bigger portions.
Do you know that in Europe they eat about 1/3- 1/2 of what we get served at restaurants? I was deployed to Spain several times and had to negotiate the hotel stay and food among other things for our troops “deploying” there (I put deploying in parenthesis because it was in a 3 or 4 star hotel – rough duty that one). We had breakfast and dinner at one of the hotels. They served portions that they normally would eat and I had to negotiate for more food because we ate so much that they ran out and everyone didn’t get served nor did they feel like they’d had enough. The hotel was shocked at how much we ate and that was my first realization about how much American’s actually eat. I think it’s because of our advertising telling us we need more, bigger portions, super size, more, more more.
Here’s a great video by USA Today Science Reporter Elizabeth Weise that shows it was a way for companies to increase their bottom line while tricking us into thinking more is better.
Don’t we have enough already? We don’t really need more, we’ve been programmed to think we need more to line others pockets. How do we stop this more madness and get off the hamster wheel?
It starts with gratitude. I’m not talking about a quick thought like “I’m grateful, next, lets get on with the day.” I’m talking about taking time to do that before reaching for your phone, turning on the TV or looking at your computer.
I wake up each morning and look around at where I am and thank God that I can breathe, get up out of bed and walk to the bathroom. I know a veteran who was on active duty a couple years ago and on her way with her husband and friends to a Christmas party (note: alcohol was not involved). They were involved in a horrific accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down. She can’t get up or do anything without help for the rest of her life. However, she has gratitude for the things she can still do. She is grateful to not be on a feeding tube and to be able to eat food. Check out her story here – https://www.facebook.com/strongwkat/ If she can find something to be grateful about, what excuse do I have?
I live in a beautiful condo in a safe area. I have electricity, water, food. I can take a shower, enjoy my garden sanctuary and work to make a living. Some people not only in the US, but other parts of the world have their lives in turmoil from war, shootings or other crime. Some have lost their lives this year and their families will live with that pain for the holidays. Some have lost their homes to fire or the destruction from a hurricane or earthquake.
To take it for granted that today is just another day and I have nothing to be thankful for because I don’t have this thing or that contract or that relationship is where I can go down the rabbit hole and get depressed. Many people are in that boat and I have been there myself thinking I’m not making it in my business or I am alone and isolated at times.
It sounds simple right? Oh, just be grateful, but it’s difficult if you aren’t in a good place or it’s something you don’t think deeply on. It’s something you must consciously get into your body and really think about what you are grateful for or what you absolutely love about yourself. You may have to do some work to clear out the negative thoughts in your head to get to a point of gratitude. I have tools for that. Contact me for a complementary strategy session (see below for more info or click here to get on my schedule http://eldonnalewisfernandez.com/schedule/
If it makes it more meaningful for you, write it down, do a daily gratitude list in the morning and at night or simply look around and take a moment not to think of anything else. What am I grateful for? I’m grateful that you took the time to read this to potentially improve how you see things and think about things to be grateful for, even amid a bad situation. Listen to some uplifting music to get you inspired and erase any negativity that may be attempting to penetrate your mind.
I will leave you with this video and wish you Happy Thanksgiving every single day of your life.
To Your Success