I love holidays. I love Thanksgiving. In fact, I think Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday, or at least it’s at the top of my list. Not sure what this says about me. Okay, yes, it says I like the food! And the togetherness and all the rest…Holidays are great, but holidays can also be stressful for a lot of reasons but one reason, when talking about Thanksgiving, might be that perhaps you’re just not feeling all that grateful.
Is that allowed?
Well, maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer or some other challenging illness or situation. Maybe you’re sick from chemo or some other treatment. Maybe your loved one just died. Maybe you just lost your job and have no prospects for another. Maybe you just broke up with your significant other. Maybe you are all alone and don’t want to be. Maybe you are damn tired. Maybe you are feeling sad and depressed because your candidate for President lost the election.
There are lots of reasons why life gets challenging, and challenges don’t magically disappear for the holidays.
So yes, sometimes life gets in the way of gratitude, too, even at Thanksgiving.
I will never forget a comment a reader once left on a blog post of mine. That reader had metastatic breast cancer and was dealing with a lot of issues. She also had young children. Her comment went something like this:
Every night when I tuck my kids in, we take turns telling each other something we’re thankful for. Some nights it’s really hard for me to come up with something, but we, I, always do.
I share this because yes, sometimes it is hard to feel grateful, although usually you can find something to express gratitude for.
But even if you can’t, that’s okay too.
So yes, it is allowed!
Because you are allowed to feel however you’re feeling.
It’s also okay because gratitude ebbs and flows. Gratitude takes effort and sometimes you just aren’t up to the doing part. But maybe the next day, or even the next hour, you will be. So there’s always that.
Gratitude takes practice which means you don’t have to be good at it all the time, does it not? Sometimes it also takes patience with one’s self.
There’s a reason the phrase, practicing gratitude, exists.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best blogs around about practicing gratitude is one written by my friend Lisa Valentine. It’s called, Habitual Gratitude.
Lisa’s blog is filled with wisdom, acceptance and humility, as well as practical tips for practicing gratitude. Lisa leads by example. If you have a few spare minutes, check it out.
So my message in this year’s Thanksgiving ramble is this:
At Thanksgiving and all through the upcoming holiday season, be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient with yourself, even regarding expressing gratitude.
Be you. Be real.
Do your best when practicing gratitude (as well as when cooking, baking, shopping, cleaning, entertaining and all the rest of it) too.
As usual, it’s enough.
Really. It is.
To all who celebrate the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!
Do you practice gratitude?
Do you sometimes find it hard to feel grateful?
What’s something you’re grateful for right now, this minute?