It’s November and there’s a ton to be grateful for. Pilgrims. Gourd displays. Pumpkin pies. Most retail stores opening at 2 a.m. or earlier on Black Friday.
When we think of gratitude, most of us envision getting something tangible: a sack full of loot (with money symbols on the outside of the bag), a framed, autographed photo of Mark Ruffalo, someone washing dishes for us after dinner.
That’s part of it, but gratitude can also be appreciating the intangible. Maybe you didn’t get the job you thought you really wanted, but only after some time passed did you realize it was a blessing in disguise. Or a call from a long-lost friend you haven’t heard from in years.
In either case, when people acknowledge a source of positivity and goodness, they also usually recognize that it comes outside themselves. Case in point: the delicious Thanksgiving dinner later this month you’ll enjoy took many people to bring it to you—the farmers who grew the crops, the drivers who took the product from farm to the store, the employees of that store who help to sell it to you, your employer who provides the money so you can have that food. We’re not even mentioning the sunlight, rain, and nutrients in the soil that made your food possible. Gratitude connects you to others, to nature, and maybe to a higher power.
In a different context, gratitude can also be expressed as grace—handling life’s challenges with ease and smoothness. The demeaning tone of your boss may be a little gift to show you how not to behave when you’re the big cheese. For me, it’s not throwing a shit fit when Starbucks runs out of pumpkin spice syrup and I have to order something else. Maybe something tastier like…there is nothing tastier than that. Ahhh!!!
Okay, joking aside (but seriously, some people center their entire fall calendar around pumpkin spice lattes), the sour experiences—and we all have them—are opportunities to show gratitude for lessons we can learn or new opportunities we can open ourselves up to. It may not come in a pre-wrapped shiny package with those fancy curled bows, but there are always moments to appreciate something in any situation.
We’ve got a great, no-cost, easy-to-implement practice you can do on your very own this month. Are you ready? Are you hankering to get crackin’?
Write a thank-you note to someone who’s made a difference in your life. Find your 4th grade teacher, your Zumba instructor, or the attendant from Delta Airlines who got you upgraded to first class and tell them how awesome they are. Really tell them. Don’t hold back. And if you’re really inspired, tell us about them on Facebook.
We, at Thrive, may have something else up our sleeves this month, so check back for other ways to fill your plate full of grateful this month.
This Thrive Blog Post is brought to you by: Dan Dean