Is Thanksgiving and giving thanks one in the same? The answer to that question depends on one’s individual perspective. In any event, I think it would be safe to say they have a common thread, which is gratitude. The simple definition of gratitude is to show appreciation and RETURN KINDNESS.
With the passage of time, it is not unusual for some of us to minimize the positive things in our lives as they become common occurrences. We often don’t realize that to avoid negativity it’s important to focus on the “Good in Life.” Some of the good things in life that we may tend to take for granted are having an amazing community, good health, awesome friends and/or family, a good job, and the comforts of life. If we fail to be appreciative of these and other things, we may find that complaining becomes commonplace in our lives. Having an attitude of gratitude, or giving thanks, is a tool that can help us avoid negativity and be happier and more optimistic.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused me to reflect upon the many blessings I have in my life. I realized that gratitude involves an outward-focus instead of an inward-focus. I became aware of the fact that I was too focused on me and things that really didn’t matter. Suddenly, I recognized how important my family is and that I have been blessed with many things that perhaps others haven’t. I began to be more outwardly-focused. This helped me give thanks for the “Good in Life.” It shouldn’t take an event such as a pandemic for each of us to recognize what we are grateful for and to acknowledge and appreciate our blessings.
I’m convinced that having gratitude can change people’s lives, which can result in more meaningful relationships, a happier outlook, and most importantly, being kinder. Being a realist, I understand that having gratitude is difficult because life is hard. However during this Thanksgiving season I challenge you to consider the following:
• Increase your appreciation for the things you have
• Employ the essence of gratitude by focusing outwardly on others
• Return kindness by considering:
- Performing random acts of kindness
- Returning a favor
- Paying a compliment – Mark Twain said, “I can live two months on a compliment.”
- Finding a way to “Pay it forward”
- Telling those close to you what they really mean to you – life is short
- Think of five things that you are thankful for and write them down
Thanksgiving is a great time to give thanks! It is my hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving Holiday and that you are amazed by the things you have been blessed with. Thank you for letting me serve you as your mayor.