I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the subject of thankfulness. Thankfulness is something that almost everyone would agree is important, and yet at the same time, almost everyone neglects to actually establish the habit of giving thanks. Why is that?
I think it’s because it takes effort to be thankful.
Most of us, if we were honest, would probably say that often we don’t really believe that thankfulness is worth the effort.
If we don’t thank people for our birthday gifts, we’ll probably still get gifts the next year. If we don’t thank a stranger for opening the door for us, another stranger will still open the next door. No point in acknowledging the toll booth operator – they won’t even remember us the next time we come through their gate.
But thankfulness is not actually for the benefit of the recipient. Being thankful is for our benefit.
No matter how glamorous or terrible their life looks from an outside perspective, everyone has some good and some bad in their life. It’s so easy to look at our friends’ glamorous Instagram photos and wish we had their lives. When we do that, though, we’re comparing our realities with their fantasies.
Regardless of what you see, no one has a perfect life. Everyone has challenges that they struggle with. If you knew all the pieces of their lives, you might very well find yourself having second thoughts about your desire to trade lives.
Thankfulness helps you focus on the good in your life instead of the bad. Focusing on the positive aspects of life and choosing to be happy is how you begin to cultivate a life of true meaning and adventure. It is how you filter out the discontent, how you learn to be happy with the life you have right now, even as you work to make it better.
Thanksgiving is vastly important.
Far too often, however, thankfulness is neglected. I encourage you to begin to establish a habit of being thankful for as much as you can.
I’m not telling you to stick your head in the sand and ignore the challenges you’re dealing with. But the challenges are never the end of the story.
Not sure what you have to be thankful for? Think of it this way. What if you only had today what you thanked God for yesterday? What would you miss tomorrow that you have enjoyed today? The warm sun, your comfortable home, your clothes, your car, your friends who called you just to check on you, your steady paycheck? I’m sure there is plenty missing from that list, but I’ll leave it to you to fill in the gaps.
What are you thankful for in your life right now?