Happy Thanksgiving!

Ahhhh.  I’m having a picture perfect day so far… I have the day off work, I got up early for a stimulating conversation with a friend, and now I’m sitting at a coffee shop sipping a latte and pondering the meaning of life… well, at least the meaning of Thanksgiving… 

It’s that time of year again, the time when everyone is suddenly thankful for everything that they have been complaining about all year.  It’s Thanksgiving.  I think that it is great to have a holiday that focuses on giving thanks, but I think that we should make a little more effort to incorporate this thankfulness into our daily lives ALL year long. 

I am so guilty of forgetting to do this.  When I look back, a great majority of my heartache in life could have been avoided if I had simply focused on what I already have rather than what I lack.  You would think that such a powerful realization would alter my behavior in the future, but I continue to forget.  I continue to take the blessings in my life for granted.

In focusing on living in a spirit of thankfulness, and discussing this with others, the easiest way that I have discovered to maintain a grateful outlook on life is to keep things in PERSPECTIVE.  I believe that gratitude and perspective go hand in hand.  You have to look at your life and your situation in terms of the big picture.  Ask yourself “could things be worse?”  If the answer is yes (and it almost always is) then you immediately have something to be thankful for!  You can immediately feel an authentic sense of gratitude that things are not any worse than they are.  It is so easy.  Not happy with where you are in your career?  Try to focus on how far you have come.  Haven’t attained your weight loss goals?  Think about how much healthier you are for making the changes that you have made.  This works with everything in life, big or small.

Even still, sometimes being thankful is complicated.  I read an article last week that really struck a chord with me.  It mentioned the universal fact that good and bad things happen in our life simultaneously.  This is so true for all of us, there is rarely a time when EVERYTHING is good.  Many times, one area of life will flourish while another falls to pieces.  It is sometimes difficult to allow yourself to be truly happy about and thankful for the good, because the bad is right there with it.  Maybe you feel guilty for allowing yourself to be happy about one area of your life when other circumstances are so grave.  But that is exactly what you have to do.  Take the good where you can get it and celebrate it.  Allow yourself to be happy.  Keep things in perspective and allow yourself to be thankful for the many blessings in your life.  They are there… all you have to do is pay attention to them.    

Happy Thanksgiving!

© Haley McManigal 2014

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