Count your blessings and accomplishments, and wear warm socks.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself thinking about the different kinds of thankfulness I’ve experienced throughout my life, and, as it turns out, it has really gone in phases. When I was a teenager, I engaged in a whole lot of “why me?” thinking, and as a result I had to look to my accomplishments and my hard work whenever I wanted to feel a sense of true gratitude. This is to say, my life felt like way too much of a mess for me to count my blessings, so I counted my persistence, lofty goals, and other traits within me as things I was thankful for instead of counting things in my external world.
That angst-riddled teenager grew up to be quite the self-critical adult, however, and I now realize it has been ages since I’ve listed one of my personal accomplishments as something I’m grateful for. Merely talking or thinking about something I’ve accomplished opens a jumbo can of worms and gets me dwelling on things I should have done differently, dreams I wish I’d achieved yesterday, etc., so counting my blessings is definitely the surest route to gratitude for the adult version of me. Lately, I find myself feeling grateful for things like: the roof over my head, my husband’s unparallelled ability to listen, the smell of currant-spice candles on cold nights, being able to afford fresh groceries and special meals out, our pup and all his antics, my good health, my loving family around the world, wool socks, and the lemons falling daily from our backyard trees. And, the list goes on.
While my current gratitude list sounds like something you’d more traditionally hear rattled off when counting one’s blessings at the Thanksgiving table (and it admittedly feels a bit less self-absorbed than my old way of giving thanks), I think finding things to be grateful for within ourselves is equally important. In fact, I’m pretty sure there will be points in the future when the world around me feels a little bleak and I’ll need to look inwards in order to find things to be thankful for. And, the more I think about it, I realize that these phasing forms of gratitude are actually quite healthy. The ability to feel grateful is so important to our appreciation of life and our sense of hope that I think we should all count our blessings wherever we can find them. When we’re going through phases of loving our world, they’re probably outside of us; when we’re not so hot on our world, these sources of gratitude are probably within us. Whatever other phases we’re going through, I hope you — dear reader — and I are always able to to seek out and celebrate the best parts of our lives, because finding the good in life keeps us going and makes the journey extra sweet…Has the way you experience thankfulness changed as you’ve grown and evolved? I would love to hear your take! Leave a comment.
Psst: In case you’re wondering, I made the above image using a lovely hand-drawn border I found on We Lived Happily Ever After.
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