Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on Nov 7, 2020 in San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is pretty much my favorite holiday. I love Christmas with all its magic, the beautiful decorations, the wonderful spirit, and the thrill presents, but at Thanksgiving the expectations to make the holiday great are so much lower. Even with a big feast, Thanksgiving is a simpler holiday. Thanksgiving is simply a time to be with family and friends, to remember lost loved ones, and to enjoy time together.

To say I am grateful for the Covid-19 pandemic would be an overstatement, and probably shock a few people, but I am grateful for the things learned so far during the pandemic. In speaking to friends, family, and clients about the situation, I have concluded that one of the greatest things about the pandemic is that it has helped us appreciate things that we have taken for granted. Keeping ‘socially distant’ has severely limited our time with others and has therefore made time together more precious. Having to wear a mask has made it so that seeing someone’s face without a mask is a refreshing experience. We have learned that even though things have been taken away, if we focus on what we have, we can feel a greater measure of gratitude and joy about life. I am personally grateful for good health, good doctors and hospitals, healthy kids and grandkids, a wonderful family, supportive friends, money to take care of my family’s needs, a great business, and all my senses. 

Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s taken away. Is that not the theme of 2020: “Taken Away!” You know what I’m talking about, “this is being taken away starting tomorrow”, “you can’t do this anymore until we are in code yellow”, “if you’re going to do this you have these 5 restrictions.” You get the picture. You are living it too. Since so much has been taken away when we get a glimpse of getting it back, our gratitude is higher.

My wife Cheryl and I recently read the book “The Gratitude Diaries – how a year looking on the bright side can transform your life” written by American journalist and former Parade Magazine editor in chief Janice Kaplan. The book includes both personal stories and loads of supportive research. I enjoyed reading the book twice. When I say read, I mean listened to while I was either on my mountain bike, driving my truck, or exercising. Reading “The Gratitude Diaries” changed the way I see things. Though I try to be grateful and look on the bright side, I need a lot of work in that area and this book helped. I have learned in a big way that happiness has less to do with the events that occur than with our own attitude and perspective. Being grateful for and looking on the bright side of whatever happens has been proven over and over to make one’s life better. 

Complaining is much easier than looking on the bright side because of how we are wired. We are wired and programmed to look for the negative or the harmful so that we can warn others about it. It used to be a matter of survival. Anciently, if you discovered a poisonous herb or berry you would tell everybody not to eat that herb or berry because it might make them sick or kill them. We do not live with those primitive conditions anymore and as a result we can focus on the good and acknowledge what went right. Being thankful and grateful does not mean that we lose our ambition. We can still want more for ourselves, our family, our career, or the world, but we can enjoy more along the way. Gratitude makes life not only more enjoyable but also worthwhile. John F. Kennedy declared: ”as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

How do we show more appreciation and become more grateful? How can we make Thanksgiving last all year? One awesome suggestion is to keep a gratitude journal. Some suggest that you simply write one thing that you are grateful for each day and by doing so it helps you focus on what’s right with the world. This may sound a bit pollyannaish, but it works 100%! By keeping a gratitude journal, I have been able to focus better on what went right. I am committed from now on to maintain a daily gratitude journal and be better about appreciating what I have. The famous biblical writer Paul said that the highest a person can achieve is to be content with what they have and be ambitious for more. What great words to live by!

A WORD OF CAUTION

Be warned that writing in a gratitude journal might cause lower stress levels, might help you feel calmer, might give you a new perspective, might help you learn more about yourself, could cause you figure out and focus on what really matters, and might compel you to feel accomplished.

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