Thanksgiving 101-Gratitude Attitude
Being and feeling grateful is tough when it seems like your whole world is falling apart. Sure when things are going well it’s easy to spout lovely platitudes of appreciation. It’s quite different when you are in crisis mode and someone is trying to tell you it could be worse. Yes, I could be in jail right now for punching you in the face. I’ll be happy to tell you it could’ve been a whole lot worse.
I know people mean well when they are trying to give you comfort but it’s hard when you are feeling powerless. Yes, there’s a lot we cannot control even though we want to very much. Tragedy and heartbreak are a part of life, and no, time doesn’t heal everything. The best we can do is adapt and live with it. As much as I don’t want to revisit the past, I know it’s always with me. I don’t dwell on it, but when I feel down it’s easy to open up old wounds. I’ve had to learn not to let it spiral out and consume me.
Do you know what night has the most people out drinking? It’s not New Year’s Eve, and no, it’s not Tax Day. Believe it or not, it’s the night before Thanksgiving. Hey, facing the family isn’t easy for many of us. Liquid courage helps a little bit. Family can bring up past hurts and resentment. I stress the word “can” because we do have the power to decide how we are going to behave and react to our family. I have a few thoughts to share with you that might help increase the odds of having a wonderful time with our loved ones. These tips and tricks may also help when you are going through some hard times.
Visualization. It’s easy to visualize the worst case scenario and many times what we expect is exactly what we get. What about trying to picture a happier more loving scenario? Think about each person in your family and see them in the best light possible. See yourself laughing and joking with them. Open yourself up to believing your visit will be enjoyable. You may find your own attitude change for the better.
Bring wine, just in case.
A friend of mine once told me that she hated going to work. The people in her office were always in a bad mood, and it was a miserable place to be. I suggested that she visualize everybody in her office having a fun day. I told her to set the scene before going to bed. I wanted her to see herself smiling to everyone and saying a friendly hello. She told me she decided to do it every night for a week. On Sunday she called me and said a miracle had happened. She had the best five days at work and couldn’t believe how nice everyone was being. My belief is smiling is infectious and has a relaxing effect on others. It’s easier than spiking their coffee.
Empathy. The more we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, the more we can relate to each other. Most of us wear our scars on the inside and we will never understand the hurt that is being carried around. Practicing compassion goes a long way to developing patience for each other. The more we communicate our feelings the less chance of being misunderstood.
My father had a tough time growing up and said very little about his parents. My uncle, on the other hand, has given me more insight to how they were raised. For me, it unlocked a whole new perception of my dad. We have to remember our parents are people too. They are not perfect but I believe most try their best. Getting a glimpse into their past may help give us clues to understanding them better.
Last but not least, wait for it, Gratitude. Yes, practicing gratitude can go a long way. It can help us find that silver lining when all we see are dark clouds. It may feel like the last thing we want to do when we are struggling, yet, if we take a moment to be grateful about one thing it may keep us from drowning.
I’m lucky. I don’t have to look too far to find what I’m grateful for. It’s easy to conjure up a good memory when you have people in your life that you love. I have a great family and wonderful friends that I can always count on. My hope and wish is that you too have a lot to be grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving!! See you at the bar!!