Despite the controversy surrounding Christopher Columbus and the USA’s Thanksgiving holiday, it is hard to find a problem with the idea of giving thanks or gratitude—especially in November, National Gratitude Month. Gratitude is the inoculation against all painful emotions. It’s impossible to consistently hold onto emotions like anger, sadness and anxiety while you are simultaneously feeling gratitude. They are mutually exclusive.
The next time you are feeling anything painful, think about all the things you have in your life to be grateful for. There are so many. To give you some ideas, I’ll list my 30—one for each day of this month. If you’re struggling to find things you’re grateful for, perhaps you are thinking too big or you are comparing yourself to others.
What makes you happy to be alive? Here are the categories I think of when I’m seeking gratitude: people/relationships, work, my body and how it functions, conveniences, personality traits, sensory experiences, nature and spirituality.
Here’s some things I am grateful for:
- My two sons and their wonderful families
- My two brothers and my parents who were with me in the beginning and still encourage me
- My sister-in-law Denise, who is also my friend and business manager
- Loyal ride-or-die friends that I have collected throughout my life… you know who you are
- Former lovers who taught me many valuable lessons about life and myself
- My fun niece and best editor in the world, Veronica Daub
- My clients who pay me to do the work I love
- William Glasser and Choice Theory psychology
- Technology that allows me to work more effectively and remotely
- Mental Freedom and the peace it brings me
- My legs that are capable of walking wherever I need to go
- My arms that are capable of hugging all those I love, especially my grandchildren
- My heart that circulates blood in my body and allows me to love fiercely
- My lungs that carry oxygen to all parts of my body and provide me a focal point for meditation
- Exhaling after the results of the midterm elections
- My car that will take me anywhere on this continent I want to go
- Loyalty points on American Airlines that allow me to sometimes fly business and first class
- The doctor who saved my life this year and the gift of time he gave me
- Purple hair dye
- Good theatre
- The passion I feel for the work I do
- My perseverance
- Meaningful conversations
- Water in its many forms: ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, glasses of, and ice cubes
- Seventy-degree fall weather
- Majestic mountains
- Breathtaking sunsets and the peace and wonder they bring
- The way the Universe works in my life
I could continue, but I wanted to list just one for each day. If you’re struggling to come up with your own feelings of gratitude, I’m hopeful this list could prime your pump. Energetically, gratitude is at the highest vibration. It’s the reason people with genuine gratitude seem to attract more amazing things in their lives. They’ve stopped comparing themselves to others and have learned to focus on the wonderful awesomeness that already exists in their own lives. Playing the comparison game can leave you wanting, causing you to feel like your life is incomplete. When we remember our lives and our very existence are complete just the way they are, we can more easily generate gratitude, not just at Thanksgiving, but every day of the year.
It’s okay to want bigger and better for yourself—not because you want what someone else has, but because bigger and better will serve humankind.
I recommend keeping a gratitude journal. It’s something I’ve done for many years, but a little over two years ago, I bumped it up by having a gratitude accountability partner. We write our gratitude lists every day in an email to one another. Having that partner makes it less likely I will skip a day. We have promised to write at least five things each day that we are grateful for, and it has enhanced our friendship, as well as taken my gratitude practice to a deeper level. And if you are reading my words, remember, I’m also grateful for you. Thank you!