It’s odd to think of all the things you’re thankful for when there’s so much pain and suffering in the world. You may feel a sense of silliness, guilt, and/or shame in being grateful for your blessings when others have so little. It’s ok. Your feelings are valid.
It’s important you recognize how others are suffering – loss of income, health concerns, distance from their loved ones, and so on. It shows you’re human and this uneasy feeling is a reflection of your empathy towards others. Yes, others are having a hard time. You may be one of them. Either way, it doesn’t mean you can’t practice gratitude and appreciate what you do have.
Being grateful for what we have centers us emotionally and spiritually. It grounds us by reducing our excess demands and expectations, especially when it comes to hoarding material things.
Being grateful uplifts our moods and allows you to switch from a negative mental attitude to a positive one.
Practicing gratitude is also a great way to take care of yourself. Enhancing your self-love and coming from an abundance mindset (which gratitude helps you do), instead of operating from a scarcity mindset, empowers us to make better choices. It also enables us to interact (or react) to the world from a place of love and purpose, not of desperation to fulfill that need, lack, and/or greed.
These are all great habits to practice but what about others, and how they’re feeling, especially around the holidays? Well, it’s ok to compartmentalize – separate our experiences from others.
It’s ok to be grateful this year, even during a global pandemic and world crisis. In fact, it’s encouraged to focus on what we are grateful for – our friends and family, love and security, health and wellness, access to food and the privileges we do have. Focusing on our blessings allows us to make room for more. It shows us what our priorities really are and how they’re not the same as the man-made voids social media and advertisers tricks us into believing to sell more products.
Practicing gratitude allows us to feel fulfillment with what we already have and it doesn’t require emptying our bank accounts to do so.
Coming from a place of gratitude allows us to experience wholeness. It is when we feel a strong sense of alignment that we’re most effective when making an impact. In this state of mind, we can see things clearly and differentiate our own experiences from others. This allows us to recognize how we can help those with less gain access to basic needs and contribute to improving their quality of life.
Without, we pour from an empty bucket, running on little but passion (and possibly, pride), and make critical decisions from a place of scarcity. This results in mental and physical burnout, desperation, and the risk of losing your passion or worst, hope that our work will produce the results we need it to. Instead, we want to maximize our efforts, make progress, and build momentum on our personal development and social impact journey.
In summary, practicing gratitude and taking care of our fundamental needs allows us to give more.
It empowers us to work harder and perform more effectively across the spectrum. It also helps us feel our best physically, mentally, spiritually, and communally as well.
For this holiday season, remind yourself that it’s ok to take a moment to be grateful. In fact, making it a daily habit helps increase mental and physical wellness (and we all could use that right now!). You can practice gratitude and help others who have less than you do. Being grateful for your blessings does not take away from your work helping those who don’t have access to the same blessings or privileges you do.
So whether you’re enjoying your family’s turkey dinner, a hot pot with friends, or boxed Stove Top stuffing by yourself (which I’ve done for many years), allow yourself to be grateful. Practice self-fulfillment while staying hungry for more than just food (I’m talking about justice, impact, and doing good here people!). It is possible to practice gratitude for the things you do have and do good in the world.