It is easy to be thankful when things are going well; when your bank account is fat and thriving; when your kids have great grades, and there’s positivity all around. You look at your life and you can easily point to ten things you’re grateful for. But what about when you look around and there’s so much negativity?
For a lot of people, it has been a challenging year; financially, emotionally, and mentally. What with the pandemic, and numerous layoffs? And in times like this, it can be extremely difficult to find things to be thankful for. For some, even the gift of life is no longer something to be thankful for.
However, we know that gratitude is an important aspect of life that can help us see things in a new, positive light. So, as Thanksgiving approaches, what are the things to be thankful for?
Family and friends
The people who we always have around us and we have gotten so used to that we don’t think they are a major reason to be grateful. Imagine what life would be like without a family that will stand by you no matter what, and friends that always have your back. Life would be pretty hard and lonely.
So, if you have a family, even if it’s just one person, be thankful.
The ability to read
If you’re reading this right now, that’s something to be thankful for. Think of the simple pleasure of reading and how difficult life would be if you couldn’t read. Then you’ll see why you should be thankful. Also, think about how books create a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. The ability to read and the existence of books is something to be thankful for.
Kindness of strangers
For every random act of kindness you’ve gotten from a stranger, be thankful. It’s easy to focus on the negative things going on in the society that we develop a blind spot for the positives. Whether it is a stranger returning something you lost, or someone helping you with your extra luggage. Think back to that time when a stranger extended a helping hand when you weren’t expecting it. There are still good people in this world and that’s something to be thankful for.
No matter how bad things are, some memories will bring a smile to your face. That time when someone made you feel loved, or that time when someone said something so funny that you couldn’t stop laughing. I believe we all have good memories we love to relive. Be thankful for these memories, those you created them with, and the ability to recall them.
The struggles of life
While most people see struggles as an inconvenience and something they’d rather live without, I think they are one of the things we should be grateful for. Who would you be if you didn’t go through the struggles life threw at you? Would you be this wise, thoughtful, empathic, and compassionate? Our struggles make us who we are. If you like what you’ve made of yourself, you should be thankful for the struggles that helped mold you. When you start seeing your life struggles in a new light, you’ll learn to be thankful for them.
Imagine having to wait for days to communicate with a distant loved one, or having to trek every day to work. We have gotten so used to the technology around us that we don’t see the need to be grateful for them. Just think of how easy technology makes life and how much more difficult everyday things would be without technology. Be thankful that you don’t have to spend weeks traveling to another country in a car or train. Think about the body pain you don’t have to experience and gratitude will come easy to you
If you’re reading this from a country where you’re free to move around as you like and do whatever legal thing you want, that’s one more thing to be grateful for. There are places in the world where people are not free to do what they want or even go to certain places. Even worse are places where they have their freedom but would rather not exercise it for reasons like insecurity. So, if you’re safe enough to go wherever, and your activities aren’t restricted, be grateful for the underrated gift of freedom. Also, remember to be thankful for those risking their lives to protect your freedom.
A beautiful world
Look around you and admire the natural scenery. If you’re surrounded by buildings, take a walk out into nature and feel the calming effect of the beauty all around you. From waterfalls to fields of flowers, the world is an amusing display of beauty and that is something to be thankful for. The fact that when the world seems dark and dreary, there is still a provision in nature for something beautiful. You don’t even have to leave your house to admire the beauty in nature. Just go online and watch calming videos of nature and see why you should be grateful for the beauty in our planet.
Breathing fresh air
If you live in a city with fresh hair, you should be extra grateful for all that clean air that you get to inhale. Being able to step out and breathe in fresh air should be a remainder of how blessed you are. And every time you remember how blessed you are, be thankful by giving out to the needy. That’s one way to show gratitude for all of life’s blessings.
There’s always something to be thankful for. Most times we just don’t think so because we’ve become overfamiliar with them. From the love shown by your partner to the gentle breeze on a hot afternoon; seemingly mundane things.
If you think there isn’t anything to be grateful for, be grateful for hope. Yes, hope. Hope that things will turn around for the better, hope that next year, your life will be so full that you’ll have a long gratitude list. Because, even though it might sound cliché, if there is life, there is hope. You’re reading this right now so I know you have life. And by extension, you also have hope. Be thankful for that.
Written by Matthew Delaney